Group says rider education, not licenses more effective in keeping bikers safe

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 2) — Wide-reaching rider education would do more towards safer roads than requiring bikers to get a license, an industry group said.

Move as One Coalition spokesperson Jedd Ugay said requiring licenses would not ensure that roads are any safer for bikers and e-scooter users, which is the plan of the Land Transportation Office.

"Our group doesn't really think that licenses are necessary. Actually, that's a barrier to increasing use of bikes. What is important are the proper infrastructure such as bike lanes," Ugay, who is also a transport economist, told CNN Philippines' The Exchange.

LTO chief Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante said last week that users of e-scooters and electric bikes should have a driver's license, citing provisions of the law.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said separately that the government is headed towards requiring driver's licenses for cyclists and other two-wheeled riders, saying joint guidelines are being crafted by the Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and the Interior Department.

But Ugay rejected this, saying: "For pedestrians, we don't really require them to have licenses. Similarly, for bikers, as long as they have their own space on the road to reduce conflicts and are have education in their driving, it should be okay."

Roscoe Odulio, vice president for sales at Wheeltek Philippines, added that riders also need to undergo better training to keep themselves safe.

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"It is important for the government to already lay down the guidelines and the rules , as well as if it entails licenses to bike. Perhaps, it might be a good idea to already move towards that direction and for e-scooters as well and the like," Nograles said, noting that policies need to accommodate "road sharing" to follow shifting trends in transportation options.

READ: Low-carbon economy sought after COVID-19 lockdown

The Cabinet official added that the state has the "political will" to respond to the call of cyclists' groups for bike-friendly roads, saying that pop-up bike lanes and other structures are being set up across Metro Manila and in the provinces.

Aside from infrastructure, Ugay and Odulio both noted the importance of rider education, saying that road etiquette must be taught not just to cyclists but to motorists and the general public as well.