by Marcus Leach
Cycle safety has, over recent years, become an increasingly prominent concern, especially in London where in the last four years alone there have been over fifty deaths.
And now, as the government looks to increase the number of people cycling and London gets set for its very own cycling superhighways, the issue of safety is even more important. One such solution which has attracted serious interest is a concept that comes from Holland; glow-in-the-dark road markings.
'Route 66 of the Future', as it is know, uses special green paint charged by daylight, and is designed to be clearer than existing cat's eye reflective spheres.
Whilst not being used for cycle lanes at present the concept has already attracted the interest of planners from the UK, especially as the number of cycle lanes is set to increase.
"The glowing lines are a little Daft Punk look-alike but they are to do with safety," Daan Roosegaarde, one of the road markings' designers, told the BBC.
"The three lines merge into one and you feel that it guides you. With fog, you see them more than with standard light.
"There is much less energy used. There will be big projects, we have requests from China and India - these are places where you need safe roads that are disconnected from the energy grid."
Artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde is internationally known for creating social designs that explore the relation between people, technology and space.
The design is being showcased at present in the south of Holland with the first cycle highway, to be called the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Light Emitting Bicycle Path, set to be launched in December in Nuenen.
Roosegaarde has already demonstrated the technology to authorities from Birmingham and London, with both saying they will monitor follow-up tests with a view to implementing the concept in the UK.
Prof David Bailey, an automotive expert at Aston Business School in Birmingham, backed the idea of a test to see it it truly made cyclists more visible at night and encouraged motorists to give them more space.
"The Netherlands is much better organised than the UK, they have a much better laid-out network of highways," he commented.
"It is a good idea to try it, though. There is a possibility of reducing electricity use as well."
Photo courtesy of Daan Roosegaarde