The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, August 28, urged local government units (LGUs) to roll out protected bicycle lanes in their jurisdictions after the death of nurse and coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) frontliner Renz Jayson Perez.

Perez was killed in a hit-and-run incident while riding his bicycle along Padre Burgos Avenue in Manila. Although he was rushed to the hospital, Perez was declared dead on arrival.

“Mr. Perez’s untimely death only serves to amplify the call to protect our frontliners, most especially our healthcare workers, during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the DOH said in their statement posted on Facebook.

The DOH said that they have worked with other government and civil society stakeholders to provide guidance on the roll out of bicycle lanes.

The Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2020-0001 provides guidelines on the proper use and promotion of active transport during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. On the other hand, the Local Health System Health Promotion Playbook on Active Transport was issued to provide general and technical guidance to assist LGUs in rolling out the bike lanes for the benefit of all Filipino road users.

The Health department added that given the current limitations on public transport, cycling and other forms of active transport remain some of the most effective ways to travel while observing physical distancing and maintaining open ventilation.

The DOH called on LGUs to also ensure that their traffic and law enforcement officials  proactively certify the safety of all road users – especially those using light mobility, and that violators are apprehended immediately.

“In addition, we remind all road users, most especially motorists, to be respectful and to share the road with other road users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians who are most vulnerable to accidents,” the DOH said.

“They have just as much right to use the road as motorists do. We must all do our part to create roads and communities that are safe and accessible to all,” they added. Jessica Ivy A. Zapata