Bikway: The shortcut to city bike lanes?

Modular bike lane that can be used to test routes around town

by Sarah Barth   October 13, 2012  

Bikway3steps

A new Danish start-up company thinks it has the answer to urban cycle paths - a quickly-fitted, modular, removable bike path that sits right on existing roads, coloured to keep other traffic at bay.

Bikway is described by its CEO Simon Hansen as "a new way of constructing bike lanes radically cheaper and faster than the conventional methods."

Simon contacted road.cc to tell us more: "We're currently in the prototyping phase, where a lot of the attention is going into elevation of the track, but also how to create a safe way to entering and exiting from the tracks. So a lot of alteration might be coming in the future, but it is our ambition to reach the goal imitating the Copenhagen bike track in terms of a dedicated track only for cyclists, that actively discourage drivers to park or drive their car on the track, thus the elevation which can be modified in the height.

"Our vision is to provide the same kind of infrastructure as there is in Copenhagen, a real segregated road for cyclists, since we believe that the safety and comfortability this kind of infrastructure design is offering for especially young kids and elder people  is higher than the painted lane. We're currently working close together with Copenhagen municipality's office of cyclists (Cykelsekretariatet), so that we will be able to achieve the high standard of design that is here in Copenhagen," he told us.

It's effectively a platform that's fixed to the road by the kerb, and costs 335,000 Euros to lay per kilometre, as opposed to 670,000 Euros per kilometre for traditional tarmac path. It also involved no heavy machinery and takes less than half the time.

What's more, should the route need to be altered, it's easily taken up and refitted elsewhere.

On the downside, the path, although slightly raised from road level, doesn't have the same traffic protection as those sections of Cycle Superhighways that are elevated to pavement height.

But half the cost could mean twice the volume of bike paths, which can only be a good thing.

The Bikway founders aim is: "To make an immediate impact on the city, by establishing a full bicycle network between 100-200 km within a 6 months period."

It's ambitious, but undeniably innovative. Would you like to see it rolled out in the UK? Let us know in the comments below.

13 user comments

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doesn't have the same traffic protection as the Cycle Superhighways that are elevated to pavement height

Say what? Where? The majority of the CSH are just blue paint...

I'd love to see it and try it, but at the end of the day, it will only be implementable in places where there is enough space to put them. And if those platforms are included in streets re-designs, it will need heavy machinery to create the space anyways, so the argument doesn't really hold, especially when the schemes claiming they try to increase cycling adoption are mostly worried about motor traffic flow...

I'd be also careful about the side of it. How many will fall when trying to get on/off it?

ekynoxe's picture

posted by ekynoxe [40 posts]
13th October 2012 - 12:21

8 Likes

Part-time painted lanes for CS5 (?) out to chelsea hospital.

posted by chris4567 [26 posts]
13th October 2012 - 12:32

2 Likes

How much would it cost for the 24/7 CCTV surveillance that would be required to spot reactionary nitwits with a few basic tools and a truck (i.e. most of the construction industry) from removing it because they think every using inch of road space for maximising the speed of motorised traffic is their birthright?

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
13th October 2012 - 12:47

4 Likes

Thanks for the comments, just to clarify we're still in development of the design so a lot of your concern we will put into account and address in the future iterations of the design.

Our goal with the modular lane is to take the best practice from Copenhagen in regards of design standards, safety and comfortability, which is why we're working very close with the municipality of Copenhagen in terms of validating issues and solutions that the current design is addressing.

One thing which the article is not addressing is that the height of the track can be modified, so it can match the height of the pavement, or lowered just slightly below the pavement as it the case in Copenhagen.

Getting off and on it from the side, shouldn't be a problem since we have to type of side profiles, a straight angle that should prevent most motorist from entering the track and thus prevent them from driving on the track or park on them, so that the cyclists can safely drive on the tracks without worrying about motorist.
We have also designed and currently testing a sloped edge that offers a safe and comfortable way to entering and exiting the track along the sides.

Hope that I have answered most of your questions, of course as a native Dane is interesting to see and experience how different the conditions and mentality are in terms of cycling and what is considered best practices or not.

Have a lovely weekend
Simon

posted by Simon_Bikway [2 posts]
13th October 2012 - 14:23

4 Likes

Intriguing, I'd like to know:
what is the riding surface?
Can it be repaired by regular road maintenance equipment or does it need specialist kit?
Will it be accessible by standard streetsweeper / cleaner vehicles (wishful thinking that they might sweep it I know)
Does it allow drainage into drains that are usually placed in the gutter or access to manholes?
if the cross section has rounded off edges as in the diagram then wouldnt it create a nasty wheel trapping groove between kerb and bikeway?

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [802 posts]
13th October 2012 - 16:15

4 Likes

Sounds like a great idea to me. Apart from anything else, the fact that it's relatively inexpensive might just persuade forward-thinking councils that provision can be made for cyclists within their budgets.

nowasps's picture

posted by nowasps [246 posts]
13th October 2012 - 16:21

6 Likes

Good idea though I'd be worried about slipping on the sides - not when entering but while riding along it.

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
13th October 2012 - 18:04

5 Likes

Simon,

What happens at junctions?

For example would it continue straight across a small side street?

What about a more major junction - in Denmark you would have a smooth transition to road level - how does that work with a bikway?

posted by Dave42W [32 posts]
13th October 2012 - 20:52

3 Likes

Here's an idea what about picking a section of London or wherever and fitting the cycle tracking and then picking a similar area and spend the same amount of money on employing new traffic police but no cycle lane over a 5 year period. I would bet my life on the area with the traffic police having a vastly reduced accident rate and drivers (and cyclists) being far more respectful. Won't happen because the road building lobby have nothing to gain.
Oh and I'm not a policeman.

posted by belgravedave [169 posts]
13th October 2012 - 22:41

2 Likes

It's good to hear that someone is looking at innovating new solutions to cycling infrastructure.

An option that has the potential to reduce cost will certainly appeal to politicians and give highways engineers one argument fewer against sharing road space more equitably.

It appears to be a pre-formed solid section – I'm wondering how it copes with bends and curves. We don't have many straight roads here in the UK.

posted by Campag_10 [153 posts]
14th October 2012 - 13:17

3 Likes

I don't know if I get this are all. So its a raised cycle lane?

What size is it? because not everyone cycles at the same speed, can you get passed others on the lane?

Why not just design a raised section that can be fitted along the edge of current cycle lanes? Would that not be cheaper still. It would also stop vehicle's encroaching into cycle lanes.

The problem comes when you try to put this into practice along current routes. What happens when you come to a junction, bus stop, roundabout.....etc.

I'd like to see a video of it in practice, but seems like a non starter for me Thinking

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
14th October 2012 - 20:21

2 Likes

THIS LOOKS LIKE A CRACKING IDEA, WILL ANY GOVERNMENT OR COUNCIL HAVE THE BALLS TO BACK IT THOUGH!

posted by djm778 [33 posts]
15th October 2012 - 10:17

8 Likes

A little monday update/feedback

First of thanks for all your comments, both positive and negative. It certainly help us identifying issues and potentials. Smile

First off to answer Handlebarcam regarding preventing people to just sneak out and remove it, the diagram is a simplified visualization of how the princip work, in reality the bolting is done below the top surface, so when it finally installed you can't access the bolts. Currently the design and the material used can withstand sustained pressure of more than 6 tonnes from the top, so it allows streetsweepers to clean it, since the pressure is divided on top of minimum 2 elements at all time, so yes it can be cleaned. It also allows for water drainage both from the street and from the element itself.

Regarding falling off it, I might misunderstand what you mean so please forgive me in case this explanation doesn't make much sense. The kerb side of the element is not rounded as the diagram show, but a straight surface that is even with the rest of the top surface. So there shouldn't be any chance of your wheel getting locked in between the kerb and the bike path, the top surface is straight from the kerb and out to the road. (Hope that answers your question Joemmo and Thehatter)

The elements is intended to be used at wide roads, main roads so the elements come in standard widths of either 2 meter or 1.65 meter, so it allows to easily overtake slower cyclist (even though the 1.65m width is very close to the absolute minimum for that to happens). We're not planning that the elements is going to completely replace painted surface or barriers but as a supplement to other cycling infrastructure, so that the range of tool available to city councils becomes more varied.

Regarding junction, the element can withstand heavy load from trucks, coaches and cars, so it would be a possibility to let continue at smaller junctions like in Denmark, at major junctions the element will be slowly elevated down to street level, exactly like in Copenhagen. We have a special element just for the smooth transition from street and up to the bike path. The overall shape of the element allows it to create curved bends up to a certain point, so it can be used to create bended paths, so it can be used to not only straight street but also the more medieval street design we have here in Europe.

Hope that answers most of your questions.

Have a nice day
Simon

posted by Simon_Bikway [2 posts]
15th October 2012 - 19:26

5 Likes