If, by any chance, you are planning to visit Poland, don’t forget to bring your bike. Driving a narrow track beside a road in a suburban area, an action that might have been risky in the past, was turned into an exciting experience.
TPA Instytut Badan Technicznych in Pruszkow designed the first luminous bike lane, that opened last week near Lidzbark Warminski in the Mazury region. “The material we used for the track gives light for over ten hours. That means the road can radiate throughout the whole night and reaccumulate light the following day” Igor Ruttmar from TPA says. Luminophores, the luminescent particles used in this material, may have different colors. Here blue was selected as the colour that suits the picturesque green landscape best.
However, this is not the first time a glowing bike lane has been opened to the public. One of the most astonishing examples was created in 2014 by artist Daan Roosegaarde in Nuenen, a Dutch town about 100 km south from Amsterdam. This place was chosen for a special reason: the famous painter Vincent van Gogh lived there in 1883. The design refers to one of his best-known pieces, “Starry Night”, depicting a surreal view of a night sky. Swirls of brush strokes were transfered into a glowing pattern on the bike lane. Inspired by local history, heritage and culture and made for its environment, this bike lane is part of a major project called Smart Highway, aimed at designing interactive and sustainable roads of the future.
Polish ingineers reveal that the Dutch precedent was a source of inspiration for them. The bike lane in Mazury is entirely self-sufficient which means it doesn’t need any other source of energy. Beautiful, safe and eco-friendly? Sounds very promising, but we will need to wait before it can be launched on a global scale. The material resistence is only estimated and there’s no certainty about how quickly it will wear out. The price is another issue, it definitely costs more than usual bike lanes.
While still in the test phase, we can alrady enjoy a night bike ride on a glowing lane either in Poland or in The Netherlands (although, the Polish path does not glow all night like the Van Gogh path which glows a minimum of eight hours), definitely something to remember.