When it comes to cycling, the Dutch are always in the lead. In Amsterdam, 33% of all commuting trips are made by bike; a rate that is somewhere between 10 and 40 times that of most North American cities. The car mode share is only 19%! The City of Amsterdam, however, would like to continue to increase the share of bikes on the road, especially in the winter months. One of the measures they are planning to take in order to achieve that goal is to install heated bike lanes for winter cycling.
The heating system doesn’t seem to even require the use of fossil fuels. It will work by using ‘asphalt collectors’ to collect the summer heat which will then be stored underground until needed in the winter. The scheme will cost up to €40,000 per kilometre to install – which doesn’t really seem like that much money to me. Advocates of the project think that the expense is well worth it; the City will save money by using less salt and sand on the road (the use of both has severe environmental consequences). But, more importantly, there will be fewer cycling accidents due to bad road conditions, and if all goes to plan, fewer cars on the road during the winter months.