Heated cycle lanes to warm Dutch winter cyclists

Cyclist in the snow in Den Bosch, Netherlands - file pic Snow in Den Bosch: The scheme could make winter more comfortable for cyclists

Towns in the Netherlands are considering a proposal to heat cycle lanes to encourage greater use of bicycles in winter.

The scheme proposes to use geo-thermal energy to prevent ice forming.

The idea has been provisionally costed at 20-40,000 euros per kilometre (£25-50,000 per mile).

But the man behind the proposal, Marcel Boerefijn, said there would be savings from fewer accidents, less salt needed to grit roads and reduced car expenses.

Mr Boerefijn said it was possible that the final net cost would be less than putting straw down on the paths.

Arien de Jong, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Cyclists Unions said: "We are very excited about the heated paths, because they could prevent so much misery. If cycle lanes are frozen over for four weeks, that results in about 7,000 more accidents involving cyclists.

"So of course we welcome all ideas to improve road safety for cyclists."

More bikes than people

The town of Zutphen in the east of the country is awaiting the result of a preliminary assessment before it embarks on a feasibility study next year.

The province of Utrecht is also considering the scheme.

The Netherlands has an estimated 18m bicycles for a population of less than 17m. There are more than 35,000km of cycle paths in the country.

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