Cyclist’s death spurs bike lanes movement

Joshua Justin Ramos
Cyclist’s death spurs bike lanes movement
The shock and grief over the death of Lorelie Melevo, a single mother of 2, turns to a force for action as supporters of bike lanes call for changes in the country

MANILA, Philippines – The recent death of Lorelie Melevo, a 30-year-old single mother of two, has raised the discussion over whether the Philippines is bicycle-friendly.

The We Want Bike Lanes in RP Movement, Families of Road Victims & Survivors (FRVS), and Erwin Matias (or Supremo Juan Dela Cruz) are asking Filipinos to support their campaign for more and safer bike lanes in the Philippines.

Their Change.org petition, titled “President Aquino: Certify as urgent law for cyclist road safety,” has already gathered 10,575 signatures. The We Want Bike Lanes in RP Movement’s Facebook page also has more than 27,000 supporters, FVRS has 3,854, and Matias has 4,254.

Supporters of the petition demand the speedy passage of the following pending bills  to promote “a healthy, vibrant, & developing Bicycle Culture” in the country:

  • Bicycle Act of 2014 (HB 4912) by Congressman Mark A. Villar
  • Bicycle Act of 2014 (HB 3827) by Congressman Emi Calixto-Rubiano
  • Bicycle Act of 2014 (HB 3952) by Congressman Karlo Alexei B. Nograles
  • Bicycle Parking Law of the Philippines (HB 572) by Representatives Walden F. Bello and Ibarra Gutierrez III
  • Sustainable Transportation Act of 2013 (SB 26) by Senator Pia Cayetano
  • Bike-Friendly Communities Act (SB 400) by Senator Miriam Defensor
  • Bicycle Commuters Incentive Act of 2013 (SB 413) by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The We Want Bike Lanes in RP Movement held a sympathy bike ride in solidarity with the victim’s family and loved ones on Friday, January 9.

For petitioners, the incident emphasized the alarming state of bike lanes and bike users’ rights in the country.

One cyclist is killed per week, according to an infographic citing data from the 2005-2014 Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System of the Metro Manila Development Authority.

Family in mourning

Melevo, 30-year old single mother of two, was run over by a dump truck in a bike lane along Mayor Gil Fernando Street in Marikina City on Tuesday morning, January 5.

Melevo, who was pushing her bike along the cyclists’ lane, was about to cross the pedestrian lane when the dump truck ran over her, dragging her and her bike. She was killed on the spot.

She had just dropped off one of her children at school moments before the fatal incident. To add to her family’s grief, the injuries she suffered had left her face damaged beyond recognition.

While Marikina enforces a limited truck ban on its major roads, including Mayor Gil Fernando Street, from 5 am to 9 am, and 4 pm to 9 pm, Marikina police said that the concerned truck is exempted from this.

This is due to a  memorandum of agreement between the local governments of Cainta, Rizal, where the vehicle operates from, and Marikina City, said Senior Police Officer 1 Diomedes Antenor of the Philippine National Police Marikina City Traffic Division, who handles the case.

Jonathan Silverio, the truck driver, was charged with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and damage to property.

Beyond holding those involved in the incident accountable, concerned groups hope the incident brings about longterm changes. – with reports by Bea Orante/Rappler.com   

Joshua Justin Ramos is a Rappler intern. He graduated from the University of the Philippines, Diliman with a degree in Philippine Studies.

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