The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) create bike lanes along major streets in the city of Manila Sunday for the safety of bikers as public transport remains limited. (Jansen Romero / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

A cycling advocacy group has urged the government to clarify if bikers are exempted from the requirement of wearing face shields when riding.

In a statement Friday, Cycling Matters challenged the recent resolution by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) that requires all persons to wear face shields when going out of their houses.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced the development on Monday, believing that the mandatory use of full face shields will provide additional protection to help prevent the surge of coronavirus cases during the holiday season.

“All persons are mandated to wear full-coverage face shields together with face masks, earloop masks, indigenous, reusable, or do-it-yourself masks, or other facial protective equipment which can effectively lessen the transmission of COVID-19, whenever they go out of their residences, pursuant to existing guidelines issued by the national government subject to fair and humane penalties or punishments that may be imposed by LGUs (local government units) or implemented by law enforcement agencies, respectively,” IATF Resolution No. 88 read.

But Cycling Matters said the guidelines should be drafted “on the basis of scientific evidence and should take the specific conditions of cycling into account.”

The cycling advocacy group stressed that there were no data found suggesting that the use of face shields while riding is an effective method to control the transmission of virus.

Rather, face shields pose more challenges to riders such as distorted field of vision, refraction of light at night, distraction from droplets and fogs on certain weather conditions, difficulty in breathing and wearing it properly with protective helmets and eyewears on, and dangerous materials in the event of a crash, the group added.

“Given the lack of evidence supporting the use of face shields as means of lowering transmission, and the fact that wearing a face shield while cycling poses serious risks, we call upon the government to clarify the requirement and allow cyclists to ride without the use of such shields,” wrote Cycling Matters.

Fortunately in Pasig City, cyclists are allowed to enjoy their rides hassle-free since they are exempted from wearing face shields while biking.

Per Pasig Transport, evidence and consultation among bikers show that biking while wearing a face shield is dangerous.

Pasig Transport, however, reiterated that bikers need to adhere to the IATF’s guidelines for other activities.

In August, the IATF required the public to wear face shields in public transportation, workplaces, and commercial establishments before expanding it the following month when going to supermarkets, public markets, malls and venues where government initiated meetings and critical government services are conducted. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (