Last March 16, the cycling community lost two souls to a fatal car accident. Jericho Aguila and John Pablo Santos were resting on a roadside near the SM MOA Complex in Pasig City when a Toyota Grandia rammed into them and killed Santos on the spot. Aguila was immediately transported to the nearest hospital but passed away from his injuries.
The driver was identified as Clark Magdales Malasaga, a 19-year-old student who reportedly didn’t have a license and was also allegedly drunk. Malasaga was with another friend who allegedly said that the driver accidentally stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brakes. Both are now in the custody of the police.
Create better bike lanes
Creating better infrastructure is a good way to (a) protect cyclists from accidents involving cars and (b) remind car drivers that they aren’t the only vehicles on the road. Cities with safe and clear bike lanes will lower fatality rates and most likely encourage everyone to take up cycling.
Implement better ways to address distracted driving
Refresher drivers ed courses
One way to make sure we’ve got informed and responsible drivers on the road is to have them take refresher drivers ed courses after a certain period. Things on the road changes every few years or so and everyone on the road — whether they drive cars or ride bikes — will benefit from a refresher program. Driving any vehicle is a privilege, so the least drivers could do is how to properly maneuver one. It may feel like a hassle, but it could literally save lives.
Support bills that protect cyclists
Cyclists, be seen…
According to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) there was a total of 3,026 bike-related accidents in 2020 which accounted for 2.4% of the total road accidents that year. In 2021, that number bumped down to 2,397 road crashes. Drivers who accidentally hit cyclists will always give the reason that they didn’t see them. So go out of your way to be seen. Wear proper reflective clothing and bright colors, especially at night or gloomy days. Install front and rear lights plus other reflective accessories on your bike. These will help drivers see you from far away and give them enough time to react and avoid you.
…And obey traffic rules
Drivers tend to look at cyclists and motorcyclists in a bad light and it doesn’t help that some act irresponsibly on the road. Some two-wheeled drivers spring out of nowhere and think that they can fit between cars to zigzag their way out of traffic. Some ride against traffic and don’t even bother to watch out for vehicles. Behavior like this hurts the cycling community as a whole and causes accidents. Yes, drivers should learn to share the road, but riders should be equally responsible for obeying traffic rules and being extra cautious.
Drivers, learn to share the road
Speaking of sharing the road, drivers are also responsible for keeping cyclists safe. The average weight of a car is about 3,000 pounds, a bicycle weighs an average of 25 pounds. Cyclists are much more vulnerable in accidents and collisions are often fatal. Remember that cars aren’t the only ones entitled to use the road, cyclists and motorists are too.
Accept that cyclists are here to stay
More and more people are switching to riding bikes. It’s efficient, cost-effective, and healthier in the long run. That’s why it’s important to make sure there are safer roads for cyclists and their growing community. Besides, one more bicycle on the road means one less car that contributes to pollution. Ballooning in numbers on the streets might speed up passing those house bills into laws for cyclist protection.