Travel

America Needs to Steal This Brilliant Idea for Keeping Bicyclists Safe

May 17th 2017

By:
Kyle Fitzpatrick

In the turf war between automobiles and bicycles, two wheels always lose to four.

Mixing cars and bicycles on the same stretch of road can be dangerous.

  • Bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths, even though only 1 percent of trips in the United States are by bike, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
  • More than 900 bicycle fatalities occurred in 2013.
  • About 494,000 bicycle-related emergency room visits occurred in the same year.
  • And the mortality rate of bikers aged 35 to 54 has tripled.

What to do? Bicycles and autos can co-exist with safety measures such as helmets and improved visibility for bikes, as well as designating areas for riding.

The Netherlands and Poland have a creative solution: Glowing bike paths.

The countries have found a way to make bikes more visible while giving them their own lanes to travel.

A town in the Netherlands was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's painting "The Starry Night" to create a bike path illuminated by solar-powered LED lights.

A Polish town followed suit with its own similarly illuminated bikeway.

These paths have become artistic attractions in their own right, while also raising biking awareness and safety.

Illuminated bike paths are a win-win for everyone.

Paths for bikes do more than simply improve the safety of cyclists.

New York added protected bike lanes as part of a program of street improvements, which benefited the life of affected neighborhoods by creating better public spaces and more economic vitality.

Dedicated bike lanes can solve a lot of problems:

Bike lanes greatly improve cyclist safety, according to a 2014 study of protected bike lane intersections. In one such intersection, researchers reported only six "minor conflicts" and no injuries between bicycles and cars in one 168-hour period, though the research counted 12,587 bikes and almost 20,000 cars passing through the intersection.

Neon lanes have arrived in America.

Texas A&M is taking a cue from Europe by adding neon bike lanes to its campus.

Glow-in-the-dark bike lanes at Texas A&M

The lanes are the first of their kind in the United States. The school is hoping to inspire similar safety measures elsewhere in the country.

Glow-in-the-dark technology could be huge for safety.

Illuminated bike lanes are just the beginning in adapting LED technology.

And it all starts with bike paths.