Technology aims to keep winter cyclists in saddle

Sat, Jan 12, 2013, 00:00

Road safety experts in the Netherlands will soon begin using two new technologies aimed at making the commute to work on freezing winter mornings safer for cyclists – glow-in-the-dark road markings and heated bicycle lanes.

There are some 18 million bikes in Holland owned by 16 million people, but even the hardy Dutch baulk at taking to two wheels in the face of rain and ice – a problem for the government’s green roads strategy, which aims to lure 20 per cent more commuters into the saddle by 2030.

Surveys have shown that despite the country’s extensive network of cycle lanes, the big concern when it comes to winter cycling is safety, especially for children – with 122 cyclists killed in road accidents during 2012 alone, the majority between October and May.

That’s why experts at a government innovation centre near Zwolle in the east of the country are at an advanced stage of testing road markings which glow in the dark.

The lines contain crystals which store daylight like batteries, giving off a soft light during the hours of darkness .

The safety experts are also testing a new geothermal technology to keep cyclepaths ice-free.

This uses naturally occurring ground water which will be channelled under the surface through plastic piping.