Bicycle Expressway! Stuff that modern cities and sustainable living are made of. It is called Bicycle AutoBahn and not Bicycle Expressway and yes it has opened in Germany.
Germany has just opened the first five-kilometer (three-mile) stretch of a bicycle highway that is projected to be well over 100 kilometers. It will connect 10 western cities including Duisburg, Bochum and Hamm and four universities, running largely along disused railroad tracks in the crumbling Ruhr industrial region.
Quick pointers about the Bicycle Expressway:
- Almost two million (20 lakh) people live within the two kilometers of the route that has been made active.
- Aided by booming demand for electric bikes, the new track could take 50,000 cars off the roads every day as per a study done by urban planners.
- The new type of bike routes are around four meters (13 feet) wide, have overtaking lanes and usually cross roads via overpasses and underpasses.
- The paths are lit and cleared of snow in winter.
- This could be an outcome of the fact that the Green Party is in power in the state in which the Bicycle Expressway has opened.
- In Germany, cycling infrastructure is the responsibility of local authorities.
- For the first 5km stretch of track, the cost was shared, with the European Union funding half, North Rhine-Westphalia state contributing 30 per cent and the regional development group (RVR) investing 20 per cent.
The idea for Bicycle Expressway did not originate in Germany. It was pioneered in the Netherlands and Denmark. It is now gaining traction in all parts of Germany. For instance, the banking centre of Frankfurt is planning a 30-kilometer path south to Darmstadt. The Bavarian capital of Munich is plotting a 15-kilometer route into its northern suburbs. In the capital Berlin, the city administration started a feasibility study on connecting the city centre with the leafy southwestern suburb of Zehlendorf in December.