Long before the pandemic, Filipinos had been cycling on the streets of Metro Manila because they couldn’t afford to spend time and money on public transportation. However, the greatest problem isn’t distance, but safety.
It’s one thing to advocate for cycling on the Internet, and it’s another to do so through charity. Bikers for a Cause previously gave out helmets along West Service Road, and now it went north to Monumento to continue helping cyclists in partnership with the MMDA.
By the time we arrived on the scene, there was already a long line. Some of these people had been biking throughout their lives, yet looking at their faces, it was as if this was the first time they ever got their own helmet.
The crowd was mixed, consisting of older and younger people, and their bicycles were just as diverse. Aside from the ubiquitous mountain bikes, there were also mamacharis, BMXs, classic road bikes, and even a fixie.
These aren’t cyclists on social media flaunting their latest budol while sipping third-wave coffee at a café. They’re just ordinary people trying to get around Metro Manila with whatever they have.
A helmet does not grant invulnerability, especially against vehicular collisions. However, it can go a long way in protecting one’s head, especially with the rough roads around the city. This means cyclists still need to be alert, and more importantly, motorists need to drive carefully around them.
It’s good the people behind Bikers for a Cause are helping others out of their own pockets, but if we’re serious about the safety of cyclists, then these efforts need to be backed up with protected bike lanes. That’s why the work of LGUs—such as the MMDA Bike Lane Program Office and Quezon City’s Green Transport Office—is also important.
With the next giveaway eastward on Ortigas Avenue, Bikers for a Cause will be needing donations to procure helmets. So if you’d like to help, please visit the group’s Facebook page for more details.