Dutch designers and engineers are pioneering technology to make cycling safer, including reflective crystals in road markings and underground heating on some roads (BBC News).
Both ideas can be seen in action in this BBC News report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20942340
There are already 18 million bikes in the Netherlands but the Government is keen to further increase the number of cyclists; its green road strategy aims to boost bike based work journeys by 20% over the next 20 years.
The BBC News report says that most inner city commutes are already done by bike and that it is essential for the economy that these journeys can continue to happen, whatever the weather.
Daan Roosegaarde, the designer behind the reflective crystal road markings concept, said: “The Government is shutting down street lights at night to save money. Roads are about safety and about envisaging a more self-sustainable and interactive world.”
Gerhard Winters, a geothermal energy specialist involved with the underground road heating system, explains that the technology works by pumping ground water through plastic cubes in the concrete, which warms the road surface during winter. He argues that it is a cost-effective solution when compared to the financial cost of the consequences of road collisions.
Anna Holligan, BBC reporter, said: “With rising petrol prices combined with concerns about the environmental costs of cars, many countries are looking at how to revolutionise their transport systems. If bikes are to be part of the plan, roads must be safe enough for two wheels as well as four.”