Strabag

The solar-powered lane is meant not just to be pretty, but also safer.

What’s it like to glide over a river of blue, bioluminescent algae? Ask a cyclist in the town of Lidzbark Warminski, Poland, which is experimenting with a night-glowing bike path.

The tech behind the fetching thoroughfare was created by TPA Instytut Badan Technicznych, a “materials technology competence center for asphalt, concrete, earthworks, and geotechnical engineering,” and installed by contractor Strabag. It’s about 6 feet wide and 330 feet long and cost roughly $31,000. The inspiration was a similar glowing bike lane in the Netherlands designed by Daan Roosegaarde as a homage to van Gogh’s  "The Starry Night."

Strabag

The solar-charged lane, which uses materials called phosphors, is meant not just to be easy on the eyes but on cyclists’ joints and noggins, ostensibly raising the level of safety during night riding. Here’s more on how it works from a Strabag press release (via Google Translate):

The material... is able to give light for more than 10 hours. This means that the path overnight emits light energy and re-gathers the next day. Importantly, the effect is due [to] aggregate properties used without ... additional sources of energy. For the construction of the path near Lidzbark Warminski [we] chose phosphors glowing blue, to be consistent with the [local] landscape.

As for that last part, it’s probably a reference to a lake that’s nearby—the town itself does not glow entirely blue. See a video of the path in day-and-night conditions here.

H/t Next Nature

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A chef prepares food at a restaurant in Beijing, China.
    Life

    What Restaurant Reviews Reveal About Cities

    Where official census data is sparse, MIT researchers find that restaurant review websites can offer similar demographic and economic information.

  2. A man and a woman shop at a modern kiosk by a beach in a vintage photo.
    Design

    Why Everyday Architecture Deserves Respect

    The places where we enact our daily lives are not grand design statements, yet they have an underrated charm and even nobility.

  3. How To

    Want Solar Panels on Your Roof? Here's What You Need to Know

    A handy reference for navigating an emerging industry.

  4. A NASA rendering of a moon base with lunar rover from 1986.
    Life

    We Were Promised Moon Cities

    It’s been 50 years since Apollo 11 put humans on the surface of the moon. Why didn’t we stay and build a more permanent lunar base? Lots of reasons.

  5. A photo of anti-gentrification graffiti in Washington, D.C.
    Equity

    The Hidden Winners in Neighborhood Gentrification

    A new study claims the effects of neighborhood change on original lower-income residents are largely positive, despite fears of spiking rents and displacement.

×