I love electric bikes. They're a great, low-carbon transportation option that requires much less work than traditional pedal bikes. So it's exciting news that the Paris region is rolling out a massive fleet of them as a way to beat back traffic and air pollution.
Starting September 2019, the Ile-de-France Mobilités—the Paris-area public transport network—will offer 10,000 electric bikes for long-term rental, according to Reuters. The plan is to expand the so-called "Véligo" service to 20,000 units, making it the world's largest e-bike rental program.
By Jay Walljasper
For too long biking has been viewed skeptically as a white-people thing, a big city thing, an ultra-fit athlete thing, a twenty-something thing, a warm weather thing or an upper-middle-class thing. And above all else, it's seen as a guy thing.
But guess what? The times, they are a-changin'. More than 100 million Americans rode a bike in 2014, and bicycles have out-sold cars most years in the U.S. since 2003.
To amend the situation, the country is building a massive, three-story bike parking garage beneath Utrecht's central train station. The first phase of the project will be able to hold 6,000 bikes, then another 6,500 spots will be added by the end of 2018.
Texas A&M students, teachers and staff no longer have to worry about cycling the campus' busy Bizzell and Ross intersection at night thanks to an innovative glow-in-the-dark bike lane.
The university boasts that the lane is the nation's first "non-signalized, Dutch-style intersection ... [that] includes bright green solar luminescent pavement markings used to delineate the bicycle pathways."
The project was inspired by similar glowing bike paths in the Netherlands, such as the "Starry Night" bike lane.
Texas A&M's bike lane glows due to a solar luminescent paint. It soaks up the sun's rays during the day and emits light when it gets dark. The lane is also the nation's first to receive the Federal Highway Administration's approval for the green coating it used.
Texas A&M's Transportation Services and Texas A&M Transportation Institute completed construction in October.
According to Fast Company, "the university is now carefully studying how people use it, surveying the community about whether they feel safer, and considering whether to replicate the design in other parts of the campus."
A student rides the Dutch-style protected junction.Texas A&M
The particular intersection was chosen as thousands of students navigate the crossing during the school week.
"We are excited to bring this kind of innovation and technology to the Texas A&M campus," said Peter Lange, the associate vice president of Transportation Services. "We are confident the protected intersection will provide an added level of safety for bicyclists and drivers traveling in this area on campus."
Another unique factor about the crossing is that it's the first in the U.S. to operate without a traffic light, relying only on stop signs instead. This so-called "Dutch Junction" is specifically designed to help cyclists get across the street and protect them from vehicles and pedestrians.
"The key to its design is the islands at the intersection corners which separate cars and cyclists turning right; they also move cyclists traveling straight into the view of automobiles and away from their blind spot," the university said.
"The marriage of the Dutch Junction design and explicit delineation of the bike lanes, with advanced materials that are highly visible both day and night, embody the concept behind the technology initiative—to enhance the safety and mobility options across the Texas A&M University campus," said Robert Brydia, a senior research scientist at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. "This is the first of many implementations and technology demonstrations planned over the next year."
Poland—home to some of the most bike-friendly cities in the world—unveiled a gorgeous, glowing bike path near Lidzbark Warminski in the Mazury region last week to help nighttime cyclists get from A to B.
Poland debuts its first bicycle path that lights up at night.Gazeta Wyborcza screen grab
The 100-meter track, created by construction company TPA Instytut Badan Technicznych in Pruszkow, is still in test phase.
Next Nature Network reported that the bike path illuminates at night thanks to blue luminophores, a synthetic material that emits light after being charged by the sun. The color blue was chosen for the path because the engineers thought it would best suit the scenic Mazury landscape.
TPA president Ruttmar told Polish publication Gazeta Wyborcza that the material used for their track can emit light for more than 10 hours, meaning it can radiate throughout the whole night and re-charge the next day as it absorbs the sun's rays.
The two paths, however, are different in a notable way. While the Dutch path lights up via solar-powered LEDs, the Polish path requires no additional power supply, Waldemar Królikowski, director of the Board of Regional Roads in Olsztyn, said.
According to Inhabitat, TPA designed the path with sustainability in mind. The company is also researching ways to optimize production costs since this illuminated bike path indeed costs more than conventional ones.
Check out the bike lane in the video (in Polish) below.