As a bike commuter living in San Francisco a few years ago, I was very impressed at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s ability to get new bike lanes put in (increasing bike safety quite a bit), to get bicycle safety training to thousands of riders, and to lobby the city council for any number of things, from road repairs to signs to…you name it. Representing 12,000 registered and motivated voters, the coalition held tremendous sway in the city and even frequently got politicians to mount up and ride with the Coalition.
The Netherlands has always had a very strong bicycle community, but the latest program, one in which bike lanes would be heated in the wintertime (to prevent freezing/accidents), is particularly audacious. With an estimated cost at $25-50,000 per kilometer, the program involves installing pipes that would use heat stored from the summer to warm/thaw bike lanes in the winter. These pipes would have to be up to 150 feet below the surface. However, the Netherlands may see cost savings over time, as this heat is effectively free, and the salt and straw put down on roads in the wintertime right now has an ongoing materials and labor cost.
What do you think? Have you ever been a bike commuter in a wintry place and wished your bike lanes would be dry and ice free? Has it stopped you from riding in the winter?
Bike photo courtesy of Shutterstock