QUEZON CITY, October 9, 2023 – The Mobility Awards calls for the urgent improvement of transport infrastructure in Philippine cities, making it safer and more inclusive to the mobility needs of cyclists, pedestrians, and commuters, as they launched the findings of this year’s nationwide bike count program.
A total of 147,800 cyclists were recorded by 817 volunteers through the Bilang Siklista Bike Count project. In its third year of implementation, Bilang Siklista conducted counts in 17 cities across the country, during a 4-hour peak time in the morning and afternoon, on seven different weekdays in June and July. This year’s findings showed a decrease in the number of cyclists, compared to the recorded 191,578 cyclists in 2022.
“The decline in the number of cyclists have been attributed by volunteers to unsafe road conditions, including deteriorating conditions of bike lanes and encroachment of motorists in designated bike lanes; the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on public transport; and the continuous rains that poured on the days of the count. However, Quezon City and Mandaue City emerged as exceptions as they recorded an increase in number of cyclists compared to previous counts done by the Mobility Awards; this was attributed to consistent improvements in their bike lane infrastructure and programs,” said Mobility Awards National Coordinator Arielle Celine Tabinga in a press briefing today.
“The increasing number of cities participating in the count showed that more cities are embracing the potential of cycling as a daily transport option, and are recognizing the importance of data on road users, including the cycling public, to inform road improvement projects such as bike lanes. The growing number of volunteers who showed up to count people on bicycles is a testament that they too want to do their part in helping their city’s bike lane projects succeed and make wise use of public investments for bike lanes,” Tabinga added.
Bilang Siklista also examined how much carbon emissions are avoided and savings are generated in terms of fuel costs for 147,800 people on bicycles. Results showed that per kilometer travelled, 147,800 cyclists helped reduce 36.74 metric tons of carbon emissions, and save up to PHP 615,207 worth of fuel.
The report also revealed persistent disparities in cyclist demographics. Similar to last year’s data, the gender gap remains substantial, with females comprising only 4 percent of the total cyclists.
“We encourage other cities and local governments to systematically count all road users, not only motorized vehicles, but also cyclists and pedestrians. This should be an integral part of cities’ transport and infrastructure monitoring systems that would better inform their local transport and investment planning ,” said Aldrin Pelicano, MNL Moves founder and one of the convenors of the Mobility Awards.
Prior to the launch of Bilang Siklista findings, a survey released by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that one out of three households in the Philippines, amounting to around 10 million households in total, own at least one bicycle. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) also released the results of a year-long bike count they conducted in 2022, where over 1.7 million bicycle trips were recorded along Ortigas Avenue, Quirino Highway, and Commonwealth Avenue.
“Manual counts, such as Bilang Siklista, are not perfect data collection tools, and can be further complemented by smart technologies already available. Cities can always mobilize the power of their own citizens and volunteers to help generate data, especially if manpower resources are missing,” Pelicano added.
Bilang Siklista is a citizen-led bike count initiative organized by the Mobility Awards, which is convened by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), The Climate Reality Project Philippines, MNL Moves, 350 Pilipinas, and Pinay Bike Commuter Community, along with with 27 regional partners and the League of Cities of the Philippines.
This year’s count is the third installment of the bike count program – the first volunteer-led bike count was held in 2021 covering Metro Manila cities, and expanded its reach to 10 cities across the Philippines in 2022.
ACCESS TO FINDINGS
Sanafe Marcelo, ICSC: firstname.lastname@example.org, +63968 886 3466, +63917 149 5649