Manila Bike Party

The Firefly Brigade in Manila organized the 12th Annual Tour of Fireflies, a popular event advocating the use of the bicycle as an alternative means of transportation, in Manila April 18, 2010. This year’s theme, I Vote to Bike, hopes to remind the right of people to clean air and healthier, greener, sustainable communities, with nearly 10,000 cyclists stretched out in an eight kilometer long peloton on the ride route.

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Firefly Brigade’ is a Philippines citizen’s action group formed in 1999 to work for clean air and a habitable, people-friendly environment in our cities. “The fireflies have fled the city,” says their website, “because they could not stand its dirty air. All of us cyclists, pedestrians, commuters, even those who ride cars who live, work and raise families in the city may suffer the same fate. We continue to dirty our city’s air with polluting vehicles and factories. As a result, we also risk disappearing like the fireflies. Why resign ourselves to this fate? We have a choice. We can fight for clean air and bring the fireflies back.

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Firefly Brigade president Ricky Pineda used the theme “I Vote to Bike” to remind Filipinos of their right to sustainable transportation.

“Filipinos must be reminded to practice and advocate for non-motorized transportation because it is a form of being makabayan,” says Pineda, using the Filipino word for nationalist pride. “It means less dependency on fuel which translates to dollar savings for the government.”

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The Firefly Brigade also announced R.A.C.K. ((Raising Awareness, Capacities and Knowledge-sharing) to promote bike use in metro Manila, with project support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Through R.A.C.K., Firefly Brigade hopes to raise funds to purchase and install 15 sets of bike parking racks to Manila public spaces by the end of 2010.

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