Heated Bike Lanes For Year Round Riding?

Oct 30, 2012 at 17:00
by Mike Kazimer  
According to a recent BBC report, the possibility of installing heated bike lanes is being explored by several towns in the Netherlands. In an effort to encourage year-round cycling and to reduce the number of accidents caused by icy bike lanes, the town of Zutphen and the province of Utrecht are considering using geothermal heat to keep the bike lanes snow and ice free.

The proposal isn't cheap – the costs are estimated to be $40000 - $80000 USD per mile. But, according to the engineer who designed the plan, the reduced number of accidents and their associated medical costs along with the reduced amount of salt needed keep the paths clear would make the proposal worthwhile.

The Netherlands are known for their bike-friendly infrastructure; in fact, for trips up to 7.5km the bicycle is the most popular method of transportation. With a population of 16.6 million, and an estimated 18 million bicycles, it's clear that the Dutch value their bicycles.

Heated bike lanes sound great for commuting, but we can think of even more possibilities. Heated dirt jumps, anyone?


112 Comments

  • + 43
 this is a genius idea. Canada should really consider this. kudos to the engineer.
  • + 29
 except its a really bad idea because the only thing worse the commuting on snow is riding on water. A much better and cheaper idea would be plowing the snow in bike lanes, and not into bike lanes.
  • - 11
flag David8048 (Oct 30, 2012 at 20:41) (Below Threshold)
 Hey guys its Jesus^^ he can ride on water :oooo
  • + 9
 Or better yet have bike lanes....t-dot the most non-bike friendly cities Frown
  • + 4
 I think it would be awesome to have on the west coast. The temperature never really gets too cold to stop you from riding but frost in the morning can be a killer.
  • + 8
 I work as a pedi-cab driver in Vail, CO where there are a bunch heated streets and sidewalks and they don't accumulate water like rain does. I think its because snow falls so much slower than rain and melts as soon as it hits the pavement that there is no time for puddles to form. Its only during very heavy snow storms that slush and puddles form, but never for very long. It is definitely sweet being able to walk around and ride a bike not worrying about ice at all. Of course on the other hand, Vail's method is both more expensive and more unsustainable than the traditional plowing and shoveling methods. However, Vail uses natural gas as opposed to geothermal so it makes me think the Dutch are really on to something here.
  • + 30
 just use napalm, melts the snow, dries the road, keeps ya warm.
  • + 10
 you actually think that riding in the wet is worse than riding in the snow... it rains all winter in victoria and its awesome! i would hate to have snow.
  • + 4
 Lol, we have this in our city for some trips. its a great idea but i dont really see the use of it because it isnt the icy roads that stop people from going to work/school but rather the cold and the snow fall... And it cost sooooooo much.
  • + 1
 I may be wrong but i think thredbo in australia has heated path ways?
  • + 9
 SHARK555 - and smells great in the morning
  • + 2
 Until theres a hill rain is worse than snow haha, because then you are stuck. it would only take a crown in the bike lane to fix the water problems. The question is really if it is worth the energy required to redo the roads in order to save the amount of energy that would be used in the cars during the winter otherwise. I think it probably makes sense if they start implementing this idea as roads need to be replaced, but not any sooner, because there are probably a lot of other ways that energy problems could be addressed first, such as making windmills plentiful enough to make the cars powered by electricity. You might have to also consider that if there is so much geothermal energy flowing just beneath the ground, why not make places for cars to be electrically charged by geothermal turbines. In the end, cars - or other motorized transport is going to be necessary. You aren't simply going to build everything by hand like us mountain bikers do. While energy reduction is important, its also a question of fixing the current ways that machines work as well, because we aren't simply going to stop using cars.
  • + 1
 The Dutch are awesome. The Netherlands are awesome. Heated bike lanes are dumb. How expensive is a cheap set of studded tires? Riding in the cold sucks, that's why people don't wanna do it, not because of the accidents. I doubt there are that many serious injuries (nevermind serious costs) related to the odd slip & fall on a bicycle & if there is it's the riders fault for not being careful enough & protecting themselves properly. If there is geothermal infrastructure to tap into, or if it would also be used for more sensible purposes then I say go for it. If it's all just gonna be done for a f*cking bicycle lane, then it's lame.
  • + 2
 haljohnson - good call, good call. Classic line
  • + 2
 Just fit a blowtorch pointing downwards in front of your front wheel...
  • + 6
 There's only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Dutch.
  • + 13
 Screw heated bike lanes, I'd like some normal bike lanes first.
  • + 1
 this is a stupid idea that much money can go on to build more trails. Heated bike lanes is gona take the fun out of mountainbiking SHIT WEATHER IS WHAT MAKES US MOUNTAIN BIKERS FACING THE ELEMENTS TOGETHER.
  • + 9
 Heated shelter for homeless people, better Health system, access to education that be better money invest. Hey no worries with global warming Will do biking all year long, no need for freaking heated lane
  • + 2
 I agree that those are important issues, but global warming is, in my opinion, the biggest issue facing our generation (and possibly all of humankind). But yeah, the money probably could be spent more effectively to accomplish the same goal of reducing emissions and halting global warming (i.e. investments in renewable energy, public awareness of the issue, etc.)

My 2 cents.
  • + 1
 In the long run global warming means no snow, but for the short term it means more snow for some areas. Regardless, the planet is in the initial stage of long term sickness, Sandy is a hint. The more money spent on encouraging commuting the better. It's one of the last pure things remaining.
  • + 0
 global warming is not that much of a threat the real threat is the end of cheap natural ressources....and the wars that come with it. oh and clean freshwater is the main issue for future generations
  • + 2
 Resource wars are a threat, but global warming is going to start kicking our ass before we run out of resources.
All the predictions are wrong because they don't take into account the positive feedback loops that will massively speed it up; no arctic ice, burning forests, and melting permafrost which will release huge amounts of methane. I'm afraid we only have 10 or 20 good years left at the careless pace we are on. It will also trigger volcanoes that could wipe us out.
  • + 2
 I think you will find that "Global Warming" is completely contradicting the current changes in our Earths climate. The world is not getting warmer on average, just in some places. What is really happening is weather and atmospheric patterns are becomming more exaggerated. Hence huge storms, large floods, long droughts etc. Warming in certain areas is not sufficient proof to say the entire world is warming, we need to look at the bigger picture.

Hence why is is more recently termed "Climate Change" instead of "Global Warming" as there was not sufficient evidence in the past to prove the term.
  • + 1
 Telecommute. Problem solved. Eddie 1170, You're listening to too many right wing trolls. Global warming is real.
  • + 4
 haha right when i saw global warming i knew i was gonna see protour.
  • + 1
 global warming???? you know they got natural hot springs right.... free hot water in homes i guess they gonna pipe this water under the cycle lanes as they all ready do under roads an pavements (side walks) Smile
  • + 1
 Call it whatever you like you agree That the big picture doesnt look to good lets face it
  • + 1
 Totally agree protour
  • + 1
 Haha
  • + 5
 This is a really bad idea. As it is bike lanes are hugely politically contentious - drivers see the installation of bike lanes as coming at their expense, both in time and tax money. As a result lanes are often announced under one mayor and cancelled to score cheap points under the next. Our current mayor is actually ripping out bike lanes at a massive expense for ideological points - this in the biggest city in Canada, with a downtown density that is ramping up fast enough to make any question of bike lane demand largely irrelevant. Heating the lanes up only adds expense and lead time to the equation, making it a much juicier target for political interference.
  • + 23
 In the netherlands, biking is part of their culture, and therefore the same political games that go on here in N. America do not apply. Look to the Scandinavian as an example of forward thinking, sustainable social and environmental views, that the rest of the world should be taking example of.
  • + 4
 Right, and I wish Canada had that same culture. But this proposal is putting the carriage in front of the horse. Starting out with a tiny network of heated lanes will do absolutely nothing to encourage commuters - unless you live and work on the same street, you'll still be riding through snow. I'm sure 99% of cyclists out there would rather that money be spent on a larger network of bike lanes. As it is one of the biggest dangers I deal with commuting downtown and in residential areas on the daily is people simply aren't expecting bike riders, they aren't paying attention to the right spots on the road. A comprehensive network of regular bike lanes would do far more to get drivers used to our presence than a few downtown loops of heated lanes.
  • + 1
 I read about them ripping up bike lanes last time I was in Toronto, what a waste of money!
www.globaltoronto.com/bike+lanes+significantly+increase+the+safety+of+cyclists+study/6442741957/story.html

Why would drivers be pissed about bike lanes? The more cyclists on the road, the less cars, so assuming they are used and the research done to ensure they're in the right place, shouldn't drivers want us annoying cyclists in our own lane?

I'm lucky enough to ride sweet single-track to work, and live where heat rather than cold is an issue, but this seems like an excellent idea.
  • + 5
 crs-one: you are comparing Canada to the Netherlands. They are two different worlds. You don't need to "encourage" commuting by bike in the Netherlands. It is a fact of life already. You are correct that Toronto in particular is ass-backwards when it comes to bicycle commuting and safety, but it's not like that in many European cities.
  • + 2
 To answer your question, it's really a suburban vs. urban divide. The street in question goes directly from the tony rich/upper-middle-class neighbourhoods and connects to the larger downtown arteries. It's a popular route to the financial core in a city with the worst gridlock in the world by some measures. The section with the bike lanes is a low-income neighbourhood (where incidentally every city councillor and residents association supported the lanes), making it low-hanging fruit for professionals frustrated about their commute. Their frustration might better have been directed at our sorely underfunded transit system (lowest subsidy level in North America), since the bike lanes did not increase traffic on that street.

smike: I know that, and I took a glance at the comment section and saw everyone was throwing in their two cents about the suitability for their hometowns, and jumped in.
  • + 1
 That's crazy! Taking bike lanes out... Don't make sense. Vancouver has many lanes, pretty great, but still here a lot of people disagree with them. There's nothing quite like doing the seawall around the whole city from Kits then cutting through on burrard back to seawall and back to Kits again. I love our city biking!!!
  • + 1
 Vancouver is great. I lived in kits and worked in Richmond, riding to work was safe and easy for the most part. The way traffic is managed on streets like tenth is so elegant and smart. Unfortunately Toronto's streets aren't grid-like enough to emulate it on a large scale.
  • + 4
 @crs-one, get yourself to Holland and ride their cycle lane system, (I'm assuming from your posts that you haven't) it's insane! traffic lights, proper junctions, roundabouts, signage, busy as ****, no pedestrians or cars for the most of it and it covers a lot of the -ahem, rather small- country. If anyone will work out if this can be justified long term it's the Dutch as they left the proverbial horse and carriage behind decades ago and are now on speeder bikes.
Ain't got any vertical elevation in the whole godforsaken country though.
  • + 1
 you also have to consider that since its a part of there culture in the nertherlands to commute they do have bike lanes almost every where so yes its expensive but its not a waste of time
  • + 9
 If only the mayor of toronto wasn't a complete moron...
  • + 7
 This is sick if they heat dirt jumps we could jump into powder when doing backflips
  • + 7
 Instead of heated lanes they should give us tunnels with heated lanes..... just sayin
  • + 1
 No need for heated lanes when it's covered. No ice is gonna be getting in that tunnel!
  • + 4
 but what about the Warm?
  • + 1
 I don't think having heat rising from the ground will keep you warm when in some places it gets down to -40° and colder some days.
  • + 1
 Well if it is in a tunnel, that should trap the the heat, unless you are thinking of a colonnade or something along those lines.
  • + 1
 Well depending on the material cause glass and plastic would be under a lot of stress with the cold on the outside and hot on the inside Razz
  • + 2
 All you tards, this may seem like a waste of money and that point could be argued forever. However it is not a waste of resources or heat as mother earth contains this heat naturally and consistently. Geothermal technology is pretty cool and can help tons.
  • + 2
 Best mates sister killed by a Bus last week while in a "cycle lane". I think it may be a good idea in the UK for CYCLE ONLY(!!!!!) Lanes to be established and enforced before we even begin to think about heated lanes to be honest. Good on the Netherlands for shaping a comminity around bikes and green transport.

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1034562/White-ghost-bikes-pay-tribute-dead-riders-danger-spots-Britain.html
  • + 6
 Bicycles with Flamethrowers. Better Yet, FatBikes with Flamethrowers.
  • + 1
 Man such a waist of money! I never have any problems riding my normal bike during the winter! And even dirtjumping isn't a problem just ride!! the season never ends!
www.pinkbike.com/photo/5992557
www.pinkbike.com/photo/6088218
  • + 4
 my fellow canadains ware born to with stand the cold a little snow wont stop us from riding
  • + 1
 The Netherlands is so far ahead of the rest of the world in terms of cycling. Makes me think I should learn Dutch and move there. But to throw my humorous two cents in....i think they should put heated tires on the bikes rather than heat the lanes. ;- ))
  • + 1
 get heating wire and lace it in a wheel! i use it in my frame to stop it from icing. as long as you dont set it to high and burn threw.
  • + 2
 i would love this then i would not have to ruin a pair of tires every year by spiking them with screws lol i would love to see this and im sure the biking community would pitch in a few bucks towards the fantastic idea. Wink
  • + 1
 oo man! I'd love to have heated bike lanes! everyone here is always semi crasing breakng wrists spraining god knows what. It could be a huge safety improvement. Also if we dont need to use salt to keep it ice free we safe mother natrure a little bit.
  • + 1
 terrible idea, will cost loads to install, cost loads to run, wastes more energy, ice and snow isn't pleasant to bike on in the city spaces but it's not so severe we need to do that! Plus it's the general cold putting people off for everyday use, not the terrain
  • + 5
 chumps need to learn to ice skate.
  • + 4
 Meeting with the mayor of PC I think this Thursday, def. going to bring this up.
  • + 1
 Hey I live in PC. DO IT.
  • + 3
 Wow! What sissy dreamed that up?If you can't stand the cold, get out of Canada!
  • + 5
 heated whistler!!!!!!
  • + 0
 heated whistler means no snow... no snow means no boarding, no boarding means no stokedness for the summer riding....
  • + 6
 sorry sir i don't snow board
  • + 3
 Exactly flamesrock300... I ski instead.
  • + 1
 pretty sure whistler would lose money with ski being completely replaced by bike... I dont ski but ive heard its ski scene is far bigger then the bike scene
  • + 1
 I personaly hate the skiing/ snowboarding at whistler, such a waste of money its 96 bucks or something crazy like that. love biking there and i love the city though
  • + 1
 Surely it'd be more beneficial to subsidise winter tyres, especially spiked ones which are pretty expensive. I'm sure this would encourage more people to ride than a heated bike lane...
  • + 0
 Rigghhht, let's heat the out of doors, cos we really have a surplus of green energy.. NOT. Show me a study that proves a net conservation of energy by heating streets, and I'll go along with it, but I highly doubt that this idea is good for the environment.
  • + 4
 Homeless people will sleep on these.
  • + 1
 this idea is just for little pussy's riding my bike every time... if there is snow you can train your skills.... riding some singletrails covered in snow is so funny , but you need the right tyres Wink
  • + 2
 i am all for heated dirt jumps!!! how awesome would that be?!? as long as they can keep it from getting sloppy.
  • + 3
 Surely this is a joke !? - what a retarded waste of energy.
  • + 0
 I completely agree
  • + 1
 LOL!
Here in Ukraine we don't even have bike lanes - bikers have to surf between f*cking cars and stupid pedestrians...
Tell us that great story about heated bike lanes!
  • + 2
 think how many animals would want to be warming up on them. also makes something that is very environmentally friendly not
  • + 0
 Just plow the friggin path.. Heated lanes is silly in my opinion. Wastes the energy saved by riding your bike instead of driving a car. Another consideration for those living in very cold climates, snow bikes.
  • + 2
 I suspect climate change could eventually render those heated lanes useless.
  • + 1
 And climate change will be sped along by heating the outdoors. Silly idea, heated streets.
  • - 1
 I think this is ridiculous. It would take so much energy to do this, and where do you think that energy comes from? nuclear/coal/hydro-electric power plants. The net benefit of a couple people deciding to ride instead of drive would be more than offset by the energy required to heat those lanes.
  • + 3
 I'd like to note I understand they want to use geothermal, but that isn't feasible everywhere.
  • - 1
 Does anyone know the environmental effects of this idea? Do they propose a sealed 'corridor' or are we simply heating a small, localized area of outside air??

On the surface, sounds crazy to me...pretty sure gloves, thermals and shower at work compensates

I'm English by the way and used to commute an hour each way in the miserable north so I know cold and wet!
  • + 2
 It's to melt the snow and ice, not to keep riders warm. It would still be cold out, but it would be safer because there would not be ice and snow buildups in the bike lanes.
  • + 1
 But if people stop riding their cars it will stop global warming and there will be too much snow to melt anyway!!
  • + 1
 now that i think about it bad idea just make winter tires and ride on the snow
  • + 1
 That Sounds like the best thing in the world of biking since the sidewalk was invented Smile
  • + 2
 heated bike parks great idea
  • + 1
 here in Chicago it would probably cost 800 000$ per mile instead of 80 000...
  • + 3
 Indoor heated bike park.
  • + 1
 haha saw bike lanes and immediatly watched this vid. www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzE-IMaegzQ
  • + 1
 9zero7 fat tire bikes.... 4" tires... You don't have to plow the lanes if the person riding likes to pedal...
  • + 1
 OR have a bike tunnel ,now i would like that !
  • + 1
 tunnel track may sound better .
  • + 1
 I love to be Dutch. No more gloves for me. Lol
  • + 1
 heated dirt man now we just need to heat whistler
  • + 1
 Heayted bike lanes...someone's been having a bit of a cheeky smoke!
  • + 1
 Omitted due to stupidity.
  • + 1
 Amazing if your homeless let sleep on the bike tracks and keep warm
  • + 3
 speed bumps Wink
  • + 1
 Depends if they have there shopping trolley with them And now forget the bell as I think they would be asleep due to drinking too much so swap out you bell for a air horn
  • + 1
 And why not just spiky tires ?
  • + 1
 They must have loved cycling so bad.
  • + 2
 Heated heaters?
  • + 1
 I think you are onto something sir
  • + 1
 now all our tramps are going to sleep on those bicycle lanes
  • + 1
 but we got to keep the snow
  • + 1
 Here in Boston they are pretty good about plowing the lanes.
  • + 1
 this could pass as an april fools joke...
  • + 0
 It´s already April...??
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