SOLAR-POWERED BIKE PATHS
Green transportation is a rapidly growing trend right now. Governments are investing in developing and building infrastructures that will replace, or at least reduce, the use of conventional means of transportation. Bicycles are the greenest mean of transportation, and many cities are trying to introduce and boost the “bike culture” by creating bicycle lanes, parking areas for bicycles or even bike rental stations in strategic points such as city centers or underground stations. Although this culture is spreading at the moment all around the world, the reality is that the bike culture is so much stronger in the northern part of Europe.
Poland is considered at the moment one of the most bike-friendly countries because of its extensive network of cycling lane, which connects several cities all across the country. The culture of cycling is increasing rapidly because of its citizens’ interest in this green transportation. In fact, the 2014 edition of The European Cycling Challenge, the top five cities were mostly Polish because they have better equipped lanes and paths.
Recently, Poland unveiled an innovative bike lane near Lidzbark Warminski in the Mazury region. It is a 100-meters path that is capable of illuminating more that 10 hours during the night thanks to blue luminophores, a synthetic material that emits light after being charged during the day from solar power. Although it is more expensive due to the material, the solar power bike lane is safer than a conventional roadway and is considered one of the best ways to increase cyclist safety thus saving lives. The solar power system is still in testing stage and the company behind the project expects to have the bike lane installed in Warsaw in the next few months. Experts are now working on researching how to optimize production costs so that the technology can spread further.
A pretty similar solar-powered bike path in the Netherlands inspirited the engineers of this project. Although both bike paths look similar the idea is completely different, while the Dutch path requires solar-powered LEDs on cloudy days, the Polish bike lane does no require additional power supply what means it is completely green.
Apart from Polish innovative bike lanes, other cities have already developed better systems to promote the use of the bicycles between cities. For instance, in Copenhagen a two-lane overpass was built to connect the extensive network of bicycle paths providing safer routers for riders. Next in San Sebastian, located in the north of Spain, they turned an abandoned railroad tunnel into the longest cycling path in the world. Finally, Tokyo was the first country to install escalators for cyclist thus allowing them to reach remote destinations.
By mixing transportation and technology, cities could become greener and there are not doubts that the solar-powered bike lane is one of the first steps for reaching the objective for a more eco-friendly life.