Bicycling is a great source of exercise and a good mode of transportation if there are safe places to ride your bike. Many times riding on a road even with protective laws and proper attire can be very dangerous for bikers because of careless drivers. Even installing bicycle lanes alone the sides of roads are no guarantee that some careless driver will not cross into the lane and hit a bicycle rider by accident. That is why Germany has taken bicycle safety to a new level by creating a bicycle specific highway.
The Bicycle Autobahn
Germany has recently welcomed their bicycle Autobahn, a smooth velo route to help fight air pollution and urban traffic jams. This new highway for bicycle riders only is a safe alternative to riding on normally vehicle cluttered roads to get their exercise and commute to work. So far they have opened the first five kilometers (three miles) of their bicycle highway that is promised to reach over one hundred kilometers when completed. The path will measure around four meters (thirteen feet) wide and instead of crossing roads they will feature over and under passes for more safety. This bicycle highway will connect ten cities including Duisburg, Hamm, and Bochum. The highway will also connect to four universities and run along the side of a no longer used railroad along the Ruhr industrial area.
How Will This Affect Germany?
The prediction is that adding this bicycle highway will take up to fifty thousand cars off of the roads. With the invention of electric bikes there may be an even larger number of people trying out the new bike paths. So far the popularity of the bike highway seems to be high in the Netherlands and Denmark where it was pioneered and seems to be gaining force in Germany. A banking center located in Frankfurt has planned thirty kilometer path that will run south of Darmstadt. The Bavarian capital of Munich is arranging a fifteen kilometer route that will run along its northern suburbs and Nuremberg has started a study to see if feasibility study about linking the four cities with tracks. Berlin's city administration gave a green light for a study in the feasibility for connecting the center of the city with the southwestern suburb of Zehlendorf. Currently, the biggest issue is to find the funding for the remaining sections of the bicycle highway. The first stretch was funded by European Union, Horth Rhine-Westphalia and the RVR. Talks are currently underway to find the funding for up to one hundred eighty million euros to finish the entire one hundred kilometer track. By trying to find funding they are hoping to keep the costs of raising the municipalities that would be required for public funding.
By completing the bicycle paths everyone is hoping to not only reduce pollution caused by over crowding of vehicles but to also reduce traffic jams. Adding more bicycling paths it is the hope that it will also mean less cars cramming inside of city. Doing so will reduce the possibility of vehicular accidents inside of the cities and be much safer for bicycle riding and walking throughout the cities.