by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Germany has just begun bicycle highways in several of the federal states with Northrhine-Westphalia being the staring point, so to speak. Others are due to follow, including in the state of Saxony in the East of Germany (territory of the GDR).
The fist one has now been opened, though only the first three-mile stretch, that will eventually span over 62 miles, connecting 10 western cities including Duisburg, Bochum, and Hamm, as well as four universities.
Saxony is geared to create four of those but the building of those won't get started until 2021. The first route will be between Halle and Markkleeberg via Leipzig, and others are between Radeberg and Dippoldiswalde, Pirna and Meissen, as well as from Markkleeberg to the White Magpie (Weisse Elster), a river.
Those bicycle highways are entirely separate roadway that will remain completely car-free. Like a traditional highway, those bicycle highways have passing lanes, overpasses and underpasses for crossroads, and even streetlights. However, cyclists won't have to worry about trucks zooming by or bus lanes. It's just a clear path for miles and miles.
It is hoped that those highways will encourage more commuters onto their bicycles rather than using the car and it is certainly something that other regions and countries, including the UK, should copy.
The idea of those Velo Routes comes from the Netherlands where such highways have been in existence for quite some time already.
A study in the Ruhr area suggests that the route there will have the potential to take an estimated 50,000 cars off the road each day. Not a bad number for sure.