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Manila – The Institute for Labor Studies continues with its commitment to multi-sectoral engaged policy discussion through its i-Gov series via its 2nd episode for the year featuring a more in-depth discussion of its “Bike to Work” survey last June 4 via the Zoom online platform.

The research “Bike to Work: A Survey on Use of Bike in the Time of COVID-19 Pandemic” was discussed in details by Miraluna S. Tacadao, Acting Chief Labor and Employment Officer (LEO), and Ivan Cassidy F. Villena, Senior LEO, both from the Institute’s Labor and Social Relations Research Division (LSRRD).

The forum was attended by representatives from various government offices and agencies who have a direct policy input and stake on the subject such as Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation, Metro Manila Development Authority, Department of Interior and Local Government, National Economic and Development Authority, League of Cities of the Philippines, and Employers Confederation of the Philippines.

Ms. Tacadao and Mr. Villena spoke at length about the findings of their study. It was found that prior to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), there are 398 respondents who used their bike to get to their workplaces, though, this number has increased after the ECQ, or equivalent to more than half of the respondents (60% or 676). This significant rise in the number of users, they reported, could be attributed to the limited public transportation and practice of physical distancing.

On the adoption of the bike to work policy, respondents believed that their company will “extremely likely” to support/adopt a policy encouraging their workers to use bike to go to work (32%). Further, there are companies/work premises that have infrastructure for biking, such as bicycle parking (60%), showers (24%), locker rooms (21%), and air compressors or bicycle hand pumps (7%). Unfortunately, some parking spaces are not secured, which are mostly located in open grounds or unused premises of the company. There are few companies that do not have bike racks also and their parking spaces are used for motorcycle parking.

The study also revealed that majority of the respondents will continue to use bike going to work, even if there are other accessible forms of transportation. However, many of them rely on public transportation such as jeepneys and buses as their primary mode of transportation in going to work.

Given the current perception to biking, according to 45 percent of the respondents, biking is “somewhat safe,” attributing this to the improper location of bike lanes (found in highways) in some areas and the lack of concrete policies protecting bikers. Nonetheless, there are few respondents (8%) that feel “very safe” in biking, and most of them hail from Iloilo City, which has been recognized as a bike-friendly city in the country.

The discussion was followed by an Open Forum moderated by Atty. Tecelyn B. Maramag. The collegial audience suggested the following topics for further research: income and time savings from using a bike versus using private vehicles/mass transport, the further promotion of the usage of bikes to encourage modal switch, the development of smart city or compact city in land use planning and regulation to promote non-motorized transport such as walking and biking.

It was also suggested that further research in this topic should include the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) amongst DOTr, DILG, DOH and DPWH regarding “Guidelines on the Use and Promotion of Active Transport During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which was signed on 17 August 2020. It provides institutional and design guidelines for the construction of bike lanes for local government units (LGUs) and national government agencies (NGAs).

iGov Talks series is a dynamic platform for technical conversations among concerned government agencies on policy alternatives pertaining to good governance, employment, social protection, and other critical policy areas.