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Dutch towns consider heating bicycle lanes to convince people to bike through the winter

Netherlands considers introducing heated bike lanes to encourage more cold-weather bicycle commuters

Fall autumn europe october 2012 8Enlarge
Cyclists drive past trees with colored leaves in Berlin's governmental district on October 2, 2012. Meteorologists forecasted warm and sunny autumn weather for the following days in the German capital. (WOLFGANG KUMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Do you think twice about riding your bicycle to work when it's snowy and cold outside? Some towns in the Netherlands feel your pain: they're contemplating introducing heated bike lanes, which could encourage more commuters to take two-wheeled transport in frigid weather.

The BBC reports that the bike lanes would be heated using geo-thermal energy, which would de-ice them and make them safer for cyclists to use.

Although it wouldn't exactly come cheap, idea-man Marcel Boerefijn says cities would ultimately save money off the scheme: less cars on the road, less accidents, and less sand for weatherproofing.

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The heated bike lanes are set to be tested in Utretcht and in Zutphen, says DutchNews.

How exactly will they work? "Asphalt collectors" will collect heat during the warmer months, says DutchNews, then radiate it back out to melt the ice when it grows cold again. (This might also make the sidewalks more pleasingly cool during the steamier parts of the year).

The Netherlands is one of the most bike-crazy nations in the world: according to the Bikes Belong advocacy group, 25 percent of the small European nation's traffic involves cyclists, and 27 percent of Dutch people cycle regularly to get around. Women make up 55 percent of Dutch cyclists.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/121023/dutch-towns-consider-heating-bicycle-lanes-convince-people-bike-through