Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 19) — President Rodrigo Duterte declared the fourth Sunday of November of every year as the National Bicycle Day in a proclamation signed Wednesday.
“There is a need to highlight the importance of non-motorized transportation as a means of fostering sustainable development and promoting environmental health that is conducive to the physical health and well-being of all Filipinos,” read Proclamation No. 1052.
Under the declaration, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is tasked to lead the event’s observance and celebration. The declaration also enjoins all other units and agencies of the national government, as well as the private sector, to take part and provide necessary assistance to the DENR.
More Filipinos have turned to bicycles as a means of transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially at the height of the lockdown when public transportation was suspended to stem transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus.
With this came the renewed calls of advocate groups who are pushing for safer lanes for cyclists and an interconnected bicycle grid linking Metro Manila’s cities. While the Metro Manila Development Authority and several local governments have designated bike lanes, groups said there are still safety and infrastructure concerns, including some lanes being narrower than the ideal 1.3 to 1.5 meters width to allow bikes to maneuver.
The Department of Transportation earlier said it intends to build a 600-kilometer interconnected and protected bike lane network in the capital region in a bid to reduce carbon emmissions.