Bikway pitches more efficient method for creating bike infrastructure in major citiesPosted on Thursday, October 18th, 2012
A Scandinavian company called Bikway is suggesting a new way of looking at what it takes to create bike infrastructure in major cities. In a video created as part of the Nordic Startup Awards, Bikway cofounder Simon Hansen proposes installing reusable, “modular bike lanes” directly over paved surfaces rather than taking the standard approach of building out new bike lanes or repaving existing surfaces.
You can see Simon’s elevator pitch below:
While there are some serious questions and potential road blocks that would need to be addressed before Bikway could be a viable option in most major cities, the idea itself is an intriguing one. As we’ve pointed out before, even minor separation between bike lanes and motor traffic can increase rider safety, so in addition to offering a dedicated path for cyclists, the fact that the platforms are elevated would have safety benefits as well. And, because Bikway’s paths are movable, cities would have the ability to reroute bike paths as needed and test new routes without committing to a substantial construction project.
Unfortunately, Bikway’s ambitious suggestion that a city could establish “a full bicycle network 100-200 km within a 6 months period” seems wildly far reaching. After all, adding a bike lane can entail removing parking spaces, narrowing existing lanes, and even with a pre-fab design like Bikway suggests, would still involve one to two days of potential road closures. Plus, the addition of bike lanes isn’t always met with a warm welcome from city residents.
Regardless, it’s encouraging that Bikway is looking optimistically at what can be done to improve cycling infrastructure and attacking some of the major concerns head on. Most U.S. cities might not be willing to embrace the idea of bike highways with the same enthusiasm as cities like Copenhagen, but at least companies like Bikway help move the discussion in the right direction.