The Department of Health (DOH) 8 (Eastern Visayas) has recognized the benefits of biking in this time of pandemic as officials have noted that limited public transport due to movement restrictions has increased public interest in the use of bikes to go to work or for physical activities.
Head of the epidemiology and surveillance unit of DOH-8, Marc Steven Capungcol, on Wednesday, touted biking or cycling as a good form of exercise for all ages to avoid heart and lung diseases.
The health department included the topic in a virtual press briefing, saying this can also help a person avoid contracting other serious diseases, such as some types of cancer, depression, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.
“This will also help in reducing the number of commuters riding public transport that ensure physical distancing is observed,” Capungcol said.
He said to ensure the safety of bikers and cyclists while on the road, the health department has urged local government units to create bicycle lanes that would separate them from motor vehicles.
It also reminded bikers and cyclists of their responsibility for using the road safely.
“Bikers and cyclists must always be alert, avoid drinking liquor. Don’t drive when tired and sleepy, and avoid texting and using a mobile phone while biking,” Capungcol said.
In the region, among the local governments that have enacted biking ordinances are the provinces of Leyte and Eastern Samar.
Eastern Samar approved its Bike Ordinance last October, aiming to promote health consciousness among its residents.
The ordinance requires all towns in the province to establish a lane dedicated to all bikers.
Bike enthusiasts are required to always wear protective gear or safety equipment when doing the activity.
In Leyte, the Bike Lane Ordinance of 2020 was approved last month, according to Vice Governor Carlo Loreto.
“Basically, this reinforces the mandate that we impose through our Environmental Code ordering local government units to come up with different networks of bicycle lanes in their respective municipalities,” Loreto said.
He said the ordinance not only requires them to put up bike lanes but also activity areas that could be used under the new normal, such as areas for jogging or walking, provided they still follow the minimum health protocols, such as wearing face masks to prevent virus transmission.
Under the ordinance, which was authored by Loreto, the province, through the active mobility committee, which is chaired by the governor with the vice governor as vice-chair, shall review all roads within its jurisdiction and determine sections that may be developed into a continuous bike lane network. (PNA)