Flight of the eagles: Fundraiser for bike-friendly roads and watershed protection

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ENVIRONMENT activists and biking enthusiasts have agreed to raise the demand for the expeditious implementation of the bicycle ordinance four years after its passage.

The call takes centerstage as cycling enthusiasts join environmentalists for the 12th Flight of the Eagles event on October 19, an annual gathering of cyclists from within and outside Davao City that traditionally pushed the cards for the protection of the city’s upland watershed areas — home to the endangered Philippine Eagle species. 

As in the past, this year’s event is a fundraiser to support the reforestation areas of the Davao City Water District, particularly in the Talomo-Lipadas watershed.

Part of the fund will also go to the annual Lunhaw Awards of the nongovernment organization Interface Development Interventions, Inc (Idis)— an award given to organic agriculture producers and environment-friendly practices and projects.

The raised fund will also be used to construct bike tracks in Davao City’s Magsaysay Park.

Davao City’s biking ordinance is yet to be implemented pending its implementing rules and regulations (IRR). Passed in 2010, the ordinance was first introduced in the council in 2003.

Through the ordinance, the city government has to ensure a safer environment by creating a more efficient flow for bicycle traffic; rationalize the efficiency, capacity and compatibility in the flow of motorized and bicycle traffic; improve the attractiveness and promote the use of bicycle for health benefits and as an economically and environmentally viable mode of transport; and establish bicycle lanes in selected city streets.

Monica Ayala, founding chair of Cycling for Life, said the bikers in the city clamor for an environment that is friendly to them.

“That Davao City is not a biker-friendly is something that I myself can vouch for  because I have become a victim while riding my bike,” said Ayala. “The streets in Davao City are unsafe for bikers.”

Mary Ann Fuertes, executive director of Idis, said the implementation of the Bicycle Ordinance apparently demands political will.

“We recognize the fact that unlike other countries, the streets of Davao City’s downtown area are so narrow, but bike lanes can be still be established where are there widening of roads,” she said. | JMT, NewsDesk

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