Reflect to protect

(JUN. 19)—Close to 4,000 reflective sashes were recently distributed to bikers for free by the UP Mountaineers through its “KitaKa” Project that aims to help make bikers more visible to other motorists especially in high-traffic areas.

First distributed on Jun. 3 in observance of World Bicycle Day, the group’s distribution also coincided with the first week of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in the National Capital Region which saw an influx of commuters and motorists on the streets rushing to go to work.

The limited modes of transportation GCQ brought had many Filipinos turn to bicycles as a preferred alternative vehicle.

Only a few kilometers are presently dedicated as bike lanes in NCR.  Marikina has a 20-km. bike lane, Quezon City has one along the Quezon Memorial Circle, one along the C-6 Road in Taguig and Pasig (about 4 km.) and from Julia Vargas Ave. to Ortigas Ave. in Pasig City. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is said to be currently studying on having elevated bike lane along EDSA.

With more Filipinos turning to bicycles as new modes of transportation expected to pedal on limited roads, accidents are mostly likely to happen.  Added to this, UP Mountaineers senior member Jojo Gutierrez said, “we noticed that the new bike commuters did not have safety reflectors.”

This prompted UP Mountaineers to help ensure the safety of bikers especially those who pedal on main roads and highways.

“We just had to help because we anticipated accidents waiting to happen.  We also believe that visible bikers are safer bikers,” Gutierrez said.

UP Mountaineers is a UP Diliman student-organization established in 1977 to promote responsible mountaineering as a healthy physical activity and promote environmental awareness and forest conservation. (http://www.upmountaineers.org/)

After a week of sourcing materials and testing prototypes, Gutierrez with Pio Fortuno, Nokman Jaravata and Nikko Dumas found that reflective sashes, about P20 a piece, were a cost-effective solution.

This began the organization’s KitaKa (From kita ka/you can be seen) Project.

For those interested in partnering with UP Mountaineers in helping more cyclists who pedal in the dark with minimal or no protection, you can donate to GCash account 09166001225.

The UP Mountaineers also sent raw materials to the provinces of Cavite, Capiz and Pampanga where partner organizations made reflective sashes using a photo guide  (https://www.facebook.com/KitaKaProject/photos/a.107514794334868/107515007668180).

Tiklop Society of the Philippines (TSP) supports KitaKa project and is helping in the distribution in Davao.

TSP is a Philippine-based, non-stock, non-profit organization formed in 2009 that brings together people with a singular love and appreciation for folding bikes and seeks to promote the use of these as a means to better oneself and achieve cleaner air to breathe and more livable cities. (http://tiklopsociety.ph)

More information on reflective sashes are available at https://www.facebook.com/KitaKaProject/.

Posted: June 19, 2020 9:41