Glow-in-the-dark bike path makes cycling safer

Poland's town of Lidzbark Warminski is testing a self-sufficient, solar-powered bike lane that not only looks good but also makes cyclists safer.

The town of Lidzbark Warminski in Poland is experimenting with a night-glowing bike path.

Created by TPA Instytut Badan Technicznych — a “materials technology competence center for asphalt, concrete, earthworks, and geotechnical engineering” — and installed by contractor Strabag, the experimental road is about 6 feet wide and 330 feet long and costs roughly $31,000.

The solar-charged lane uses materials called phosphors and is meant not just to be easy on the eyes but on cyclists’ joints and noggins, ostensibly raising the level of safety during night riding. Said material is able to give light for more than 10 hours, which means that the path overnight emits light energy and re-gathers the next day.

Charging by day via the sun, the luminous blue cycling strip is also eco-friendly and a new addition to a larger recreation path that leads up to Wielochowskie Lake. Its main goal, however, is to help prevent bicycle and pedestrian accidents.

“We hope that the glowing bicycle path will help prevent bicycle and pedestrian accidents at night,” said TPA’s President Igor Ruttmar. “It’s a problem here in Poland, especially in the areas farther from the cities that are darker and more invisible in the night.”

A few other European countries have been experimenting with similar ideas as well, but have yet to find a solution as environmentally friendly as TPA’s bike lane. A Dutch designer created a “Starry Night” bike trail in the town of Eindhoven in 2014, which was home for several years to the famous artist Van Gogh.

And in 2013, at Christ’s Pieces Park in Cambridge, England, a U.K. based company called Pro-Teq Surfacing sprayed glow-in-the-dark coating called “Starpath” on 1,614 square feet of a path to illuminate it at night.

Takeaway

Cycling is one of the most eco-friendly ways to travel, and obviously — cities across the world are making new and adopting existing plans to accommodate cyclists. Aside from reducing pollution, cycling makes people healthier but it could also be dangerous. And by guiding cyclists at night, TPA's luminous cycling strip can help prevent bicycle and pedestrian accidents.
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Action point

FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS:
TPA's luminous cycling strip is a fancy, yet smart solution for all cities looking to promote cycling and, consequently, make neighborhoods friendlier to cyclists. The solution doesn't require any external power and is rather "charged" by the sun during the day. As such, it should be an easy sell to the public while helping the local official behind the effort score a few points along the way.

FOR BUSINESSES:
A savvy business could contact TPA to bring their technology to new places, pitching it as an eco-friendly way to (further) promote cycling in the community — while at the same time making them safer. And because there is no external lighting involved, the end price of such bike lanes is more affordable (than traditional lanes with lamps around them). So your pitch in a single sentence should go like this: eco-friendly, safe(r) cycling that doesn't break the bank.