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Germany to create its first highway for cyclists

In the Ruhr district, a 100 kilometre highway for cyclists that uses abandoned railways and canals will connect ten cities and four German universities. The first stretch was opened in Mülheim.

Germany has decided to go one step further and, instead of opting for traditional cycling lanes, has chosen to build highways open to cyclists. Bicycles are becoming alternative and competitive means of transport in cities, which are also more and more traffic-congested, resulting in stressful driving conditions. But in case you want to move from one city to another in order to visit a new place, go to work or enjoy a bike ride with your family, it is extremely useful to have long-distance routes open to cyclists.

 

highway cyclists Ruhr
The bike highway of the Ruhr, Essen suburbs / Mülheim © Eigenes Werk

 

With this aim in mind, the metropolitan region of the Ruhr confirmed it will build Germany’s first highway for bikes, broadening the concept of cycling routes – in multiple senses.

 

The Rs1 will connect Duisburg to Hamm via ten other cities including Dortmund, Bochum and Essen. A fast route using abandoned railway lines and canals that will be as long as 100 kilometres and will be well integrated with an existing network of cycling lanes.

The first tract of the highways for cyclists in the area of Mülheim was opened in November 2015, and is five kilometres long and six metres wide. Covering the former railway line “Rheinische Bahn” it will be as long as 21 kilometres and will connect the University of Essen to Rheinpark Duisburg.

 

The bike highway (Radschnellweg, in German) will be four metres wide, plus two metres for pedestrians: its width, lighting and winter maintenance will become standards for further projects.

 

This project may change the way bicycles are used: they can be means of transport for riding long distances and can be useful for commuters, students as well as so-called Sunday cyclists and tourists who decide to visit new cities on a bike.

 

Featured image: Germany / Freiburg im Breisgau © Dirk Schmidt

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