MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday called on local government units to have “protected bicycle lanes” after a nurse who was cycling to work was killed in a hit-and-run accident.
“Mr. [Renz] Perez’s untimely death only serves to amplify the call to protect our frontliners, most especially our health care workers, during the COVID-19 pandemic,” DOH said in a statement.
It said the department is mourning the death of Perez “who served his patients bravely and with love.”
“We reiterate the call for local government units to roll out protected bicycle lanes as soon as possible,” DOH said.
“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 ventilation — both key in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.”
Perez was on his bike along Padre Burgos Street in Manila on Sunday evening when he was hit by a pick-up truck. He died before reaching the hospital. He is one of the many COVID-19 frontliners who have been forced to use a bike because of the lack of transportation options during the community quarantine.
Health workers groups said Perez and other frontliners are suffering because of the lack of transportation for them. Investigators also cited the lack of bike lanes in the area.
The DOH also said that LGUs should ensure traffic enforcement for the safety of all road users “especially those using light mobility, and that violators are apprehended immediately.”
The DOH pointed out that they have already worked with civil society groups on guidelines on the proper use and promotion of active transport during and after the COVID-19 pandemic under Joint Administrative Order 2020-0001.
“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 Department 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.”