Deadly accidents waiting to happen
By Ermin Garcia Jr.
AS more residents are taking to biking not only as means for short travels in and around towns and cities but as a lifestyle, something very worrisome is looming ahead. It’s about the absence of conduct, rules and ordinances on the roads and highways for bicyclists.
Both the bicyclists (and the public) are aware that they are not covered by any law or ordinance on how they should ride. Consequently, we are seeing many situations where bicyclists consider themselves as pedestrians as they ride through streets:
- Entering any road whether restricted or not (one-way streets).
- Quick crossing of pedestrian lanes.
- Parking (and leaving) their bicycles, wherever, whenever, etc.
On the same note, bicyclists think they are as entitled to use roads and highways like all motorists with several exceptions, unmindful of risks to themselves:
- They are exempted from complying with traffic rules and regulation on the streets and highways.
- They weave thru intersections, enter one-way streets, tailgate vehicles, etc.
- They don’t have to wear helmets.
- They recklessly overtake motor vehicles (like motorcycles) from any side of the road and highway.
- They don’t need rear mirrors on their handles.
- They race through busy highways and drink from water jugs while riding.
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ALL RIGHTS NO ACCOUNTABILITIES. Last week, as I was driving along M.H. Del Pilar St. last Thursday, I chanced upon two adult bicyclists ahead of me, freely occupying the middle of the street, blocking regular flow of vehicular traffic and chatting away with no cares about the risks to both their lives and possible accidents involving motorists.
In this particular case, the bicyclists considered themselves as licensed vehicles with rights to use the middle of the road, when they are not. Worse, no accountabilities to the public.
Whether acting as pedestrians or motorists, the way bicyclists are conducting themselves in bigger numbers, they are prone to serious road accidents waiting to happen.
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LGUs MANDATE, NOT LTO. Both local governments and the growing number of bicycle riders must act today to prevent bloody and deadly accidents simply because there no rules and regulations that bicyclists should adhere to and comply with.
The Land Transportation Office does not have the mandate to promulgate rules on vehicles that do not have mechanical engines. It cannot issue license plates for bicycles neither can it require bicyclists to have riding licenses.
There are no traffic rules for bicycles which is why we see riders criss-crossing streets, violating the red traffic light. Helmets are not even required of bicyclists wherever they ride. They counterflow even on major streets.
In this case, city and municipal governments must act and address the bicyclists’ issues to prevent loss of lives and accidents.
In several cities in Metro Manila, biking lanes are already being marked. But that’s it. No rules for conduct on the streets and highways. It’s still a risky ride for both bicyclists and motorists.
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REASONS TO ORGANIZE. There is every reason for growing numbers of bicyclists in towns and cities to organize themselves as formal umbrella organization for bicyclists, officially registered and listed like other transport groups. Such bicyclists’ groups can be expected to represent their sector in public discussions to protect their legitimate rights and interests in the face of law.
A formal group of bicyclists can help guide local governments on how to respond to issues involving bicycling, particularly, discussions on:
- Ordinances for bicycle lanes, use of helmets.
- Establishment of Road Conduct for bicyclists.
- Accountability of bicyclists in observing traffic rules.
- Registration of bicycles for protection vs. thefts.
- Limitations of persons allowed to ride on streets and highways.
- Road-conduct seminars for bicyclists in barangays.
- Enforcement of rules and conduct among bicyclists.
- Parking facilities for bicycles.
The serious bicycle hobbyists in Dagupan City should take the lead and do themselves and their fellow bicyclists a favor by organizing soon with the vision to protect both their sector’s and motorists’ safety.
Hopefully, their tribe will increase and more local bicycle groups and associations will be formed across the country.
Seeing the growing number of bicyclists joining the Sunday “Bike-and-Run Day” at the De Venecia Express way Extension should already indicate to them the magnitude of safety problems looming in our communities.
The Dagupan City police already deploy police patrols on bikes to increase their visibility and presence. They also make an effective enforcement unit for a sector not covered by LTO rules. But how can they be expected to regulate use of highways and streets by bicyclists, compel compliance when there are no ordinances that even specify penalties for violations.
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INFECTIONS AFTER VACCINATION. The reported COVID infection of seven persons who were already vaccinated should not be reason for people not to have their vaccines in their bodies.
The vaccines still provide some protection. I surmise that the failure of vaccines to protect the seven from infection was largely due to lack of information on what the vaccines do and cannot do. In this regard, I submit my views to be confirmed or rejected by our health experts in the province.
Firstly, as some medical reviews about vaccination revealed (and are largely not known to the public) is the fact that ant-COVID vaccines engage and attack the immune system and, therefore, makes a person vaccinated more vulnerable to infection until after the second dose protocol is done.
Secondly, a strenuous activity after the first dose and before the second dose can completely weaken the immune system.
Third, the reason why a clearing process has to be in place before one can qualify to receive a vaccine, it is to determine whether one’s metabolism can sustain the impact of a vaccine.
Fourth, wearing of a mask after the first vaccine is still strictly required precisely to help protect one’s weakened immune system.
Higher protection and immunity from COVID can only be expected with a strengthened immune system.
Finally, without the vaccine in one’s body, one is vulnerable to all variants of COVID even with a strong immune system!
If our medical experts agree with my perception based on my personal readings, then I recommend that this information be conveyed to all persons inoculated with their first dose – before they leave the vaccination site.
A well-informed citizen can help the government achieve its objective for a herd immunity.
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