- Published: Wednesday, 11 March 2015 14:39
- Written by Carol Gaw
- Hits: 2810
Image from here
Bicycle commuters are a common sight in Metro Manila. During rush hour traffic, you can see these mostly blue-collar, minimum wage workers weave in and out of the tangled mess of motor vehicles. Sometimes though, at night, you may not see them at all until they are only a few feet in front of your headlights!
The very first batch of Firefly Flight Trainees who took the Firefly Brigade Orientation last November, have taken up the challenge of helping these needy bikers, who cannot afford safety devices, in their daily commute through the concrete jungle.
Image from here.
The project is called “Kitang-Kita ang Bisikleta” (KKB). Each qualified recipient will be given a KKB kit, which consists of an orange reflective vest (donated by Camelback), reflectorized stickers, which will be attached to the bike, and a helmet. To qualify, each recipient must be a minimum wage earner who uses his bicycle everyday to commute to and from their work place.
Each trainee must look for 3 prospective recipient preferably near their residence or office whom they know, so that it may be reasonable sure that the recipients will use the kit, and so that we can conduct a follow-up interview after a month to see if the kit has helped them. In return for the kit, the trainees will request for basic information (e.g. how far they commute, what problems they encounter as bike commuters etc.) which can be used for statistics and future reference.
At the same time, each trainee will also have to solicit donations to enable the group to purchase the materials in the kit. No quota was set.
This activity was conducted in the evening along the South Super Hi-way Makati City, Petron Station along Commonwealth Avenue and Quezon Boulevard near EDSA. Some recipients were from the nearby office of one of the trainees. For trainees who do not personally know of any prospective recipient, they went out on the streets and flagged down bike commuters who fit the profile.
Each group consisted of 3 trainees. Two trainees interviewed their respective recipient while the third trainee applied the reflectorized sticker to the front and back bike frame. After the recipient wore the vest, pictures were taken for documentation purposes. They were also invited to join the Tour of the Fireflies this April 27, 2003 without having to pay the P50.00 registration fee.
All in all, 21 kits were given out. The recipients’ occupation ranges from security guard, maintenance personnel, handicraft maker, driver to balut vendor. One of them travels as far as 40 kms. each day (2 hour ride to and from Antipolo to EDSA Greenhills), while another travels 3 hours each day (Bicutan to CEU). The oldest recipient, a 58-year old barber who works at Holiday Inn, has also been commuting the longest, with 20 years under his belt. Eighty One percent are married and most of them are over 40 years old.
The KKB project is envisioned to be a year-long project. We hope that this project will protect the daily commuters and raise their safety consciousness level.
This project was conceptualized and executed by then Firefly Larvaes (those who go through the Firefly Flight Training (FFT) as a requirement before being inducted into the Firefly Brigade) who are now full pledged members. Each batch of larvaes must have a group project that will benefit the cycling public. Please click the links if you want to learn how to Get Involved and read Our Advocacies.