by Regine Cabato and Martin San Diego | March 31, 2021,  The Washington Post | Read the full story here

MANILA — Before one of the longest lockdowns in the world, millions in this congested Philippine capital region suffered a hellish daily commute.

Trains broke down regularly, and roads were so clogged that the cost of lost productivity was estimated at about $72 million daily.

When public transportation ground to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic, cyclists from all walks of life and bikes of all shapes and sizes took to the road.

But Filipino cyclists are up against more than just weather and pollution.

Last month, cycling advocates called on the government to spend more than $16 million to build about 190 miles of bike lanes protected from aggressive drivers.

And they beat back a plan by officials to require cyclists to wear clear face shields — in addition to masks — as a covid precaution by arguing the shields could hinder vision on the road.

Celine Tabinga, an analyst at the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, said policymakers need to consider ways to accommodate alternative forms of transportation instead of harboring “the wrong perception that cycling is not safe.”

Despite the pandemic, Manila still has the second-worst traffic congestion in the world.


Photo by Martin San Diego | The Washington Post