Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Bike Lanes in the Sky

Across the world, bicycles are quickly gaining ground as the transportation of choice–if they weren’t already. The reasons are clear: they’re exceedingly efficient and green, quick and keep you healthy. Their one big drawback is that some folks are (justifiably) skittish about sharing the roads with multi-ton masses of steel moving at great velocities. While bike lanes that skirt normal roadways are better than nothing, they still leave cyclists pretty exposed. What if there were separate, elevated lanes just for bikes? This is an idea many are considering.

Architizer recently did a roundup of some of these lanes, both existing and proposed, that keep bikes high and away from the dangers of cars.

Of course, leading the way are the Dutch, who have built a floating bike lane in Eindhoven called the Hovenring (in video above). Not exactly an extended lane, the Hovenring is a 236 ft elevated ring floating above a highway, bridging other bike lanes that skirt the highway.

foster-and-partners copy

London SkyCycle by Foster + Partners (pictured above) is an ambitious plan that proposes a 136 mile network lofted above existing suburban rail lines. There would be 200 entry points, serving 2M people that live in the area it’d cover. According to F + P, following railways is ideal because the tracks were originally built for steam engines, who had to find the easiest, flattest route around the city.

london-sky-cycle

Velo-City in Toronto, Ontario by Chris Hardwicke proposes a similarly extensive network of bike lanes as SkyCycle. Unlike that latter project, Velo-City has a covered bikeway, protecting cyclists from the elements–probably the second biggest deterrent to bike riding next to safety. Unfortunately, Velo-City was proposed in 2006 and seems to have met its fate that year as well.

If all of this sounds a bit fantastic, consider that building an elevated bikelane is a far smaller engineering challenge than building an elevated road–or maybe even a terrestrial one. Without the abuse of heavy cars and semis, their upkeep would be far cheaper than normal roads. If only we had a bicycle lobby in Washington….

Check out more on Architizer

  • DianaBGKY

    While bikers are understanding “kittish about sharing the roads with multi-ton masses of steel moving at great velocities,” this driver feels the same way about them. I’m always cautious around them, but it bothers me that many seem to break the rules because they can, putting themselves into danger and me in a scary position. I’m talking about weaving in and out of traffic, turning or going against a light, etc. I appreciate that people take bikes if their distance allows that, but I wish more of them would obey the rules of the road. And yes, drivers need to do the same and respect bikers.

  • Chris

    Let’s not forget the lowest environmental impact transportation system, walking.

    As a pedestrian, I’ve been almost knocked down more often by bicyclists failing to obey the rules of the road than I have been by car / truck drivers.

    These are good ideas, the challenge is going to be paying for them. Let’s have bicyclists help pay for them by paying some sort of road / vehicle tax as car / truck drivers do and while we’re at it, let’s make it mandatory for bicyclists to have insurance.

  • AKC

    I ride a bike for transportation. I like the ideas of finding ways deal with the current problems of sharing the roads. I DON’T like this idea. I won’t go into the myriad reasons why (just google this and you’ll find lots). I’ll just mention one: uphill. Going uphill is the bane of bike rider’s experience. Every uphill is to be avoided unless you’re Lance Armstrong, similarly drugged, or can’t find another way around it. Requiring cyclists to go UP to get to their roadway is an unthinking and unfair segregations of public spaces.

    • AKC

      Also, I’ve ridden the Hovenring. It’s a pain in the butt, literally. I didn’t like it. It was better than nothing, but not a preferable option.