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Investments in bike lanes yield dividends, says transport group

Investments in bike lanes yield dividends, says transport group

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By Tyrone Jasper C. Piad, Inquirer Business

Investing in bike lanes to encourage Filipinos to use bicycles as a means of transportation will result in significant individual savings amid surging fuel prices and will also help make roads safer for all users, according to a study by AltMobility PH.

Keisha Mayuga of AltMobility PH, a nongovernment organization that encourages active transport, said in a virtual event that “cycling really saves money at a personal level compared to owning a car,” and the impact in terms of improved health and reduced everyday costs can be felt by everyone, regardless of class.

Citing the group’s study presented on Tuesday, Mayuga said using bicycles as the main mode of transportation could spell P281,461.92 in savings every year per individual. This is equivalent to purchasing over 6,100 kilograms of rice, she said.

This computation, however, was based on the data gathered between September to December 2021. With fuel prices going through the roof, Mayuga said savings could reach up to P300,000 annually.

Further promoting active transport, which also includes walking, could mitigate losses due to heavy traffic. She explained that Metro Manila commuters spend 188 hours or 23.5 days stuck in traffic per year, which costs P26.79 million.

It would also bode well for businesses to set up bike infrastructure to attract more customers who have turned to cycling as their primary mode of mobility, Mayuga said.

“If the restaurants or retail stores had space outside to create spaces for outdoor dining and even for cyclists, they can create a revenue of up to P648,000 by investing in bike parking instead of car parking,” she said.

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In terms of health benefits, the transport advocacy group said that a regular bike commuting of 200 minutes in a five-day period can help adults meet the minimum physical activity required for adults as per the World Health Organization. It is equivalent to traveling about 55 kilometers and burning calories equivalent to five fried chickens.

“If only 5 percent of trips within Metro Manila are made on a bicycle, society gains P738.32 million worth of health cost savings annually,” Regina Mora of AltMobility PH said, noting that the exercise could make the cyclists healthy.

Mora added that “more cyclists mean safer roads so this is more commonly known as the safety in number effect.”

“Research has shown that as the number of cyclists and pedestrians actually increase, the likelihood of getting involved in a road crash decreases,” she shared.