What is the dream of every cyclist? Yup, a lane without any risks from trucks or other vehicles, no red lights and the freedom to ride the cycle without any hurdle. This dream has materialized in Germany; welcome to Germany’s first bicycle Autobahn.
As per the AFP, the country has just opened the first 3-mile stretch of the intended 60-mile bicycle superhighway. The idea is to connect a total of 10 cities located in the western area of Germany. These cities include Duisburg, Hamm and Bochum along with 4 universities. The bicycle superhighway mostly runs along disused railroad tracks in the Ruhr industrial area. RVR, a local development agency, says that the bicycle autobahn would allow access for commute to more than 2 million Germans resulting in 50,000 less cars on the road every day.
Europe’s very first bicycle highway was approved earlier this year in London and others are being worked upon in the Denmark and Netherlands. Bicycle highways are usually about 13ft wide and feature passing lanes along with underpasses and overpasses for crossroads. Similar to roads that are intended for car traffic, the bike highway features its own streetlights and is slated to be cleared of snow during the wintertime as well.
The bike autobahn has faced a lot of problems especially the problem of financing it. The reason is quite peculiar actually; the federal government is responsible for any roadwork and waterways, however, the cycling infrastructure falls under the scope of local officials. This presents a grim issue since without the support from state, it is not possible for the local body to pay for the maintenance of such a bike highway. The CDU party came up with the idea of private funding using a financing model that is based partly on advertising along the route. Birgit Kastrup, head of the Munich project said, “The bike highways are new in Germany. We must find a new concept for funding them.”