Incentives pushed for Pinoy commuters biking to work

<i>Photo: Bikers United Marshalls / FB</i>
Photo: Bikers United Marshalls / FB

In a bid to promote biking culture in the country, a lawmaker yesterday urged the government to reward Filipino cyclists by giving them tax relief, among other benefits.

Party-list Representative Ronnie Ong said that the government should furnish bike-to-work commuters with extra pay credits and food vouchers, which should be included in a proposed Bicycle Law that’s being pushed in the House of Representatives.

The proposed legislation also has plans for city-wide bike lanes.

“Providing incentives for people who bike-to-work is [a] small price to pay for its immeasurable benefits. This would translate to billions of economic opportunities and billions of savings on capital expenditures,” Ong said in a statement sent to reporters.

Ong cited bike-friendly countries like the Netherlands, which pays their citizens US$.22 or PHP11 for every kilometer cycled free of tax. While in the United Kingdom, working cyclists are provided a “mileage allowance” of around $.26 per mile or about PHP13, according to Ong.

“Of course these are rich countries, so we could instead provide incentives in the form of food vouchers which can only be used to buy food commodities,” the lawmaker said.

“By ‘incentivizing’ the use of bikes, the government may be able to convert people to continue using bicycles in their daily commute even after the pandemic is over and life as we know it is back to full normalcy,” he added.

Read: Happy World Bicycle Day? Group calls for safe bike lanes after makeshift markers removed

Calls for the creation of long-overdue bike lanes in Metro Manila have been renewed after a lockdown was imposed on the capital in mid-March, grounding public transportation, and forcing many Filipinos who cannot afford cars to walk to work or ride a bike instead.

With many Pinoy bikers toughing it out on the streets alongside bigger cars and trucks, one bike advocate group decided to create improvised pop-up bike lanes along Quezon City’s busy Commonwealth Avenue early this month. The DIY markers have been taken down by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), which also threatened to sue the group for installing them without seeking official approval.

Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade on Thursday ordered the MMDA to setup protected bike lanes “immediately” to address the growing number of cyclists on the road, forcing the MMDA over the weekend to setup temporary bike lanes along EDSA, while setting up the groundwork on the construction of the protected pathways along the busy street.


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