Could intercity cycle highways revolutionise the daily commute?
Germany is building the world’s biggest ‘bicycle autobahn’ to connect 10 cities and remove 50,000 cars from the road every day. With the popularity of e-bikes growing too, is Europe about to see a new era of long-distance cycle commuting?
Renate van der Zee
Thursday 30 June 2016 07.30 BST
In 2010, when the motorway between the German cities of Duisburg and Dortmund was closed as part of a cultural project, three million people walked, skated or cycled along the road. For one day only it had been transformed into a gigantic city boulevard.
Spatial planner Martin Tönnes took the opportunity to cycle from Essen to Dortmund. “There were so many people that, for the first time in my life, I experienced a bicycle traffic jam!” he recalls. “But that was when we started thinking about building a highway for bikes through the Ruhr Area. When we saw this mass of people cycling down the motorway, we understood there was a real demand.’’