The Autobahn For Bikes Is Changing The Way The World Commutes
Germany knows what's up with transportation. They've got the speed-limitless autobahn highway system, which, despite sounding like an absolute deathtrap, is actually way safer statistically than U.S. highways. Crazy!
Now the Deutsch are taking their auto game to two wheels with a proposed "bike autobahn" that would span 100 km (62 miles). The first, 5 km section of the cycling super highway opened, beginning the effort to connect 10 cities and four universities in Western Germany. The new bicycle autobahn (bikobahn?) could provide a commuting route to over 2 million Germans. And according to RVR, a local development agency, this could result in 50,000 fewer cars on the road every day.
And this bike path of all bike paths is very cycling commuter's dream come true. Picture this: You're on your bike, heading to class at your very cool German university on the smoothest ride of your life. Separated paths, flat surfacing, no traffic, no tree roots and you, yes YOU, have the supreme right-of-way. Like buttah.
But alas, you live in the U.S. where things have definitely gotten better for cyclists over the past few years. Dedicated bike lanes, bike share systems and new trails have popped up all over, making the country a safer, happier place for commuters and recreational bikers.
But for as good as things have gotten, the U.S. isn't quite cursing at autobahn speeds yet. And neither is most of Germany. The cost of the 5 km section of trail that has already opened split between the European Union, RVR, and the North Rhine-Westphalia state government and funding for the rest of the €180 million ($196 million) is in question. But Denmark and Netherlands got it together to have cycling superhighways and London is getting ready to build their own, so let the international network of bikobahns commence!