The initiative of Bikers United Marshalls to put up markers didn’t sit well with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo from Inquirer.net

On Monday, June 1, the initiative of Bikers United Marshalls (BUM) to set up a temporary bike lane along Commonwealth Avenue using orange plastic bottles as well as hand out protective vests to ensure the safety of bike commuters on the first day of general community quarantine didn’t sit well with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Posted by Bikers United Marshalls on Tuesday, June 2, 2020

 

The MMDA, which said that adding bike lanes on roads is not their priority, slapped several members of BUM with a P1,000 fine each. 

“They cannot just put up bike lane protectors without notifying authorities, especially made from plastic bottles,” MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said in a statement published on Inquirer.net. “They are not enough to provide safety for our bikers from speeding vehicles. They are very dangerous in fact.” 

MMDA officers also said they even had to remove the same plastic bottles on the morning of June 2 as they claimed that they were left by BUM members.

According to Pialago, the MMDA has yet to add bike lanes on Commonwealth Avenue and markers like plastic bottles filled with water aren’t the best options to ensure biker safety. She also said there’s a possibility that BUM will face more charges because of the group’s “dangerous” initiative. For now, the MMDA spokesperson suggests bikers to travel on sidewalks. 

On Wednesday, June 3, BUM marshalls put up another lane consisting of orange plastic bottles for bike commuters to travel safely on World Bicycle Day. But MMDA authorities were once again seen removing the containers on the road. The video of the MMDA authorities getting rid of plastic containers was uploaded by bike advocacy group Cycling Matters on Twitter, which garnered the attention of several other bike advocates and netizens. 

 

BUM members fire back at MMDA

Members of BUM quickly responded to MMDA’s accusations via Facebook published on June 2. BUM members said their objective was to protect bicycle commuters on the roads. The biking advocacy group also clarified that they did in fact collect the plastic bottles by 8am on June 2. 

Statement of Bikers United MarshallsBikers United Marshalls deplore the statements made by the MMDA Asst Secretary…

Posted by Bikers United Marshalls on Tuesday, June 2, 2020

“It is tragic that MMDA does not even bother to validate facts before they make unfair and unfounded accusations,” stated BUM on their Facebook post. “MMDA keeps on promising bicycle infrastructure and to hear them say that it will take time before they take action to protect bikers is utterly disappointing. Bikers United Marshalls have demonstrated that simple acts of love and courage can be done immediately and without procrastination.”

BUM members also called out MMDA authorities on the same Facebook post for not confirming facts before issuing fines. Moreover, the bicycle group explained that their initiative of putting up orange plastic bottles is actually safe for bike commuters. 

“The fact that volunteer marshals are signaling bikers to remain in the rightmost lane and motorists to share the road creates a much safer road. Doing nothing is more fatal. The group has also distributed hundreds of free reflectorized vests to help ensure the safety of bikers,” wrote the members of the BUM. 

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