Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why We will NEVER have a Successful Shared Bike Lane in Metro Manila

Jeepneys blocking the path of cyclists along the old National Highway in Muntinlupa
For as long as Jeepneys remain to be kings of the road, then we will never have a successful shared bike lane in the Philippines.


I realized this when I biked from Paranaque to Calamba last weekend.  The road my friends and I used was a secondary national road.  It had 2 lanes on both sides, an inner lane for faster vehicles and for passing, and an outer lane for slow cars AND other smaller vehicles like motorbikes and bicycles.

My friends and I stayed in the outer lane, as much as possible maintaining a single line, giving more than enough space for faster vehicles to overtake us.  There shouldn't have been any problem.

But there was.

Every so often, a jeepney or a group of jeepneys, would swerve from the inner lane to the outer lane and STOP in front of us to drop-off or pick-up a passenger.  No signal lights.  No warning. No nothing.  Just swerve into our path.

This happened to us several times, probably once every 200 meters--yes, that often.  Literally slowing us down and even endangering our lives.

This is not to say that there are no designated bus/jeepney stops and "No Loading/Unloading" signs. There are. Plenty of them.  But jeepney drivers consider them to be more advisory and optional than  a rule to be followed.  They do not follow these signs and insist on their right to stop wherever they want to.

Much has been said about jeepney drivers, and much has been done to try to discipline them--all to no avail.

For as long as jeepneys are kings of the road, that is consider themselves over and above the law, then any initiative, no matter how noble and well-intended, to designate a portion of our roads as a bike lane will be for nothing.  The authorities can paint the entire bike lanes yellow or white if they want, but it will just be useless because jeepney drivers won't respect it.  They'll just do what they usually do.  Which is, without a care in the world, cut into the lane and stop just about anywhere.


  1. as a biker and a driver, my wife would agree that she has heard me cursing these A$$Hole ignorant drivers for a zillion times (did i not mentioned that jeepney drivers got their license via corruption from LTO? While in the the countries, you'll have a hard time getting your license unless you pass actual driving examination, in the philippines, you can just insert your ninoys in the application forms). And everytime i drive (or bike for that matter), I would always say that the best way to represent poverty, inefficiency, corruption, undisciplined, disrespectful trait of being a filipino is to represent it with our "national" pride and ride called the JEEPNEY. If we will only revamp the whole philippine highway transportation system, I way we follow HK or japan and do the mass transit train system and bus system but only designated stops. WE are to spoiled by these jeepneys that we as passengers can take off anywhere we wanted. And this kind of problem, even a president can never decide to change. I have my friend on a bike met an accident: broken helmet, and a dislocated shoulder for this undisciplined attitude of jeepney drivers and a corrupt system that has never been changed for many decades. may God Help us all in the Philippines especially the bikers.

  2. I like your statement about us being too spoiled by these jeepneys that we can get on and off anywhere we wanted. It is true. We should only get on and off at designated bus/jeepney stops so that the flow of traffic is not impeded. But bad habits are hard to break. We continue to signal for a jeepney anywhere we want, mindless of the cars behind us. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

  3. several times I've almost been killed by those arrogant drivers who see only potential passengers. they must be punished at once.