DOH’s order on active transport cited after release of BGC road safety video

February 16, 2023 - 12:00 PM
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Screenshots from Bonifacio Global City's video on road safety and Valentine's Day starring James Deakin (bonifacioglobalcityph/Facebook)

The Department of Health‘s policy on active transport was brought up after a video that promoted road safety was talked about online.

Bonifacio Global City (BGC) on February 14 tapped vlogger and road safety advocate James Deakin in its video that promotes its lanes for bikes and personal mobility devices (PMD).

This video was posted on BGC’s Facebook page as part of Valentine’s Day celebration.

Given the nickname “Officer 143,” Deakin went around Taguig City’s business district to look for drivers and cyclists who are observing road rules properly.

“Officer 143 reporting for duty on the Day of Love,” BGC said.

“Celebrate love and road safety with James Deakin. Today, we recognize #BGCitizens who follow shared road safety policies, respect motorists and pedestrians, and know how to observe bike and PMD lanes,” it added.

In the video, Deakin donned BGC traffic marshall’s uniform with a brightly-colored vest to complete his act.

Those who got “flagged” were given a prize for “doing something right.”

“I’m going to be catching people doing something right for a change. And when they do, I’m going to be giving them a reward to choose from. It’s either going to be chocolates or Rocket,” Deakin said in the video.

Some of the people who were rewarded are include the following:

  • A Grab biker who did not leave the bike lane after making a turn
  • A cyclist who parked on bicycle racks
  • A female driver who gave way to a cyclist on the road
  • An e-scooter rider who was wearing a helmet

The video has so far garnered 5,300 reactions, 250 comments and 149,000 views on Facebook.

Some Facebook users expressed support for the initiative. Of the reactions, 3,800 were likes, 1,300 were heart reactions and 41 were care reactions.

Rules on active transport

In the comments section, however, several Filipinos criticized Deakin for implying that cyclists are not allowed to go outside the bike lanes.

They cited DOH’s Joint Administrative Order on Active Transport in their comments.

Here is a copy of the health department’s rule on bike lanes:

In the administrative order, the health department said that cyclists are allowed to leave or ride outside of bike lanes if there are potholes, trash cans or other obstacles in their way.

The question in DOH’s FAQs page reads: “Kailangan bang manatili ng mga siklista sa bicycle lanes?”

Here’s the response:

“Hindi. Kahit inaasahang gagamitin ang mga bicycle lanes ng mga siklista dahil binibigay nila ang pinakaligtas at pinakamabisang daan, hindi nila kinakailangang gamitin ang mga ito palagi. Kapag iiwas sa mga basura at sira sa daan, maaaring tumakbo sa labas ng bicycle lanes ang mga siklista o di kaya ay gumamit ng mga katabing daan.”

The full copy of the joint administrative order can be accessed here: FAQs ON THE JOINT ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER ON ACTIVE TRANSPORT | Department of Health website (doh.gov.ph).

The danger in the video

Several Filipinos also pointed out that the promotional clip sets a dangerous example to other motorists on bikers.

“The point he’s making: bikers should NEVER LEAVE an unprotected bike lane because you will be presumed “wrong” This video will lead to more motorists yelling at or assaulting cyclists who leave the bike lane to turn left or avoid obstacles, like parked cars,” advocate for sustainable mobility, Robert Anthony Siy (@goodkidbikecity) tweeted.

“Unless there’s a miracle na pwede kami mag transform into ghosts at pwede kami tumagos sa mga kotse, the status quo should always be: bikers are not required to stay inside the bike lanes,” a Facebook user commented.

A Facebook user also asked BGC’s Facebook page administrator to correct the information in the video.

“Hey! Please correct your advisory. Might have been good to consult re the script and not spread misinformation,” the Facebook user said.

Deakin is known for his content about cars and transportation. He currently has over one million followers on Facebook.

Neither the vlogger nor BGC has issued a response to these criticisms.