Would You Bike in the Winter If Bike Lanes Were Heated?

A Dutch bicycle group is proposing heated bike lanes to keep ridership up in cold-weather months.

The looming threat of Frankenstorm has me thinking about the cold winter months ahead and all the icky weather it entails. I’m one of those cyclists who throws caution to the snowflakes, bundles up in 10,000 layers, and bikes to work, anyway—largely because, even though it’s an absolutely freezing endeavor, biking still the fastest and easiest way to get around.

But if you’re a fair-weather cyclist only (no judging here—biking in the winter is about as fun as it sounds), then you might be interested in a little project being explored in the Netherlands, where a bicycle group is proposing installing a network of pipes 50 meters underground that would heat the pavement from below. As Treehugger reports, “Heat generated during the summer months would be collected and stored, and used to de-ice and warm the paths in the winter.” The group suggests that it would result in some cost-savings for the city, which could use less ice and straw to thaw out the streets, and may reduce weather-related accidents. Plus, it’d encourage more people to ride year-round.

With the cost for this undertaking falling somewhere between $25,000 and $50,000 (U.S) per kilometer of bike lane, I’m thinking there’s only a slim chance of this sort of thing ever seeing the light of day, even if two Dutch provinces are supposedly “considering” it. And obviously, it’d take nothing short of a miracle for something like this to happen in the States, especially in a place like Philly.

But still—dare to dream, right?

  • AviationMetalSmith

    My Mountain Bike is equipped with studded tires, so I can ride on ice. I ride in the winter, even without these “heated bike lanes” . Everyone who rides in the winter should get carbide studded tires, it would be cheaper than attempting to heat the road. Some people have heated driveways, but they are rich!
    Note: a motorcycle windshield, also known as an aerodynamic fairing, is a protective shield, and also reduces wind chill on the rider.

  • Ted

    The Dutch realize the limitations imposed on them by the size of their country. Americans have always believed in limitless possibilities and lives.

    I’d like to think that Americans can be proactive, but there isn’t much evidence of this. As such, we will try every other avenue before being forced to do what is right.

    Parts of New York and now under water and their subway system is flooded. Maybe they can use this to finally think of new ways to allow people to bike more.

    Nah.