Traversing Edsa First Time


I have been riding my bike for two years now and I always end my ride in Makati.  I always avoid EDSA for that matter.  What with the buses flying, cars wheezing along, I was scared of traversing this long stretch of a road.  This time however I conjured up some bravery in me and did it anyway.

I was invited to do a food review all the way to Congressional Avenue in Quezon City and one way alone will take me on a 40+ kilometer journey from my home in San Pedro Laguna.  I asked google for a suggested route and it gave me two options.  One taking EDSA and one for C5.  I have ridden on the latter and it was scary especially on the Makati stretch of that road that I eventually settled for EDSA.

Knowing that EDSA was always in traffic, buses and cars would not be of a problem I assumed.  I was wrong.  Here is my account of my ordeal errr journey.

I started veering into EDSA in Kalayaan Avenue in Makati as I used the BGC route from the service road and Nichols interchange.  Turning right already I had my taste of scare.  Buses were flying right after the Buendia MRT station as this was their first taste of an open road since the station is a traffic bottle neck.  Right after Kalayaan is the corner with Estrella and buses jockey for position to pick up and drop off passengers thus the flying.  

I realized then I had four things to watch out for while riding in EDSA.  

First were the buses I mentioned.  They drive fast and without warning, veer towards the curb and stop anywhere they like to pick up and unload passengers.  I know the bus drivers can see me yet they always, take note, always move past you and then cut you off.  As if you are a competitor bus that tries to steal their passengers from them.  Sometimes they come close to the curb that you can't pass anymore and get squeezed.  Very dangerous move by these buses.

Second were the passengers themselves is a hazard.  When you ride or squeeze yourself between the bus the curb (which was just a shoulder width), passengers don't seem to notice you and just simply cross your path even if you are near the door of the bus.  Common sense might say let this biker pass but no.  Even if you are riding at a slow pace, they don't see the danger in going in front of a moving bicycle.  Maybe because they won't die if you hit them, all you can do is scratch your head.  Another hazard on the passenger side is, they get down from the bus without looking at their right.  Of course you expect them to come down when the bus door opens, but somehow, they don't go down at the same time sometimes.  When you thought that passengers have already alighted, and the bus door remains open, sometimes a passenger decides to go down late.  These are the most dangerous type of passengers as they hastily go down and without looking right they simply hop off and place themselves in front of you.  I had to slam my brakes when they did.  Another pet peeve I have with passengers is they stand on the road blocking your path, or stand on the bike path (in some parts they do have bike lanes).  Ohhhhh I want to run down over if I only I can.  

Third, the cars.  Yes we share the yellow lane with the buses, and when they veer into your path and stop, you sometimes would want to overtake them and take an inner lane in that yellow lane.  This is also dangerous as other buses will try to overtake that bus to get ahead and take the passengers before that bus.  When you do see its safe to do so, then comes a car using the yellow lane.  They don't have the permission to use this lane except turning, but they traverse the same lane as the buses adding hazard to us bikers.  Since the yellow lane has less cars in it, these drivers have an open lane most of the time so they drive fast here.  And if they do turn right to a side street, most of them, don't bother using their car's turn signals.  They will just overtake you then cut you off at the corner.  If you are a driver reading this, please use your turn signals.

Fourth hazard along EDSA is the road itself.  For the lack of bike paths in some parts, you have to take the road.  In some parts, you will see potholes near the curb where we use to ride in.  Lumps along the pavement is common as well.  With the heavy buses near the curb, some asphalt has produced tire indentations creating wave patterns,  causing you to fly off your bike if you ride full speed not noticing them.  To add more to this, you see left over cement that solidified on the road.  These are the opposite of potholes as they produce irregular and jagged lumps along the road.  These can be seen in the area between the where the bus stops and curb.

Last one hazard I did not give a number on was the bike path themselves.  That aside from people using these, the whole path is lined with eletric poles, signages, protruding man hold covers, trees and vendors.  Bike paths along EDSA is like something they did not bother thinking about.  They just brought out their cans of paint and created a line saying this is a bike path or lane.  They did so without thinking if these were safe for bikers to ride on.  I do hope they the government will really create a plan of action, where these bike paths can be established and see really if these are safe for bikers.

With the traffic situation not being solved in the near future, biking can be a great alternative.  I can't say its healthy biking in EDSA with all that smoke coming from the cars, but its a great transport alternative, if given a chance to shine.

To those bikers plying the EDSA route, I salute you guys for being brave.