Saferails: A great idea to help cyclists and streetcars share the road more safely

© SafeRails

Streetcars are a wonderful mode of transportation, carrying thousands of people in the cities that have them. They are beloved by transit riders in Toronto where I live (when they are not stuck behind cars). They are hated by drivers (when they are stuck behind streetcars) and they are a worry for cyclists (when they get their wheels stuck in tracks). I have written about how sometimes cyclists and streetcar tracks don't mix. And this is not just a North American problem, an excuse to say "get rid of those streetcars" but is common in the Netherlands and other cities where cyclists and trams mix.

detail© SafeRails

That is why this idea, SafeRails, from students Roderick Buijs and Ward Kuiters is so interesting. It is a submission to the Hague's ImpactCity competition, addressing the common problem of getting stuck in tracks. The inventors write on their site:

SafeRails focusses on developing a profile which can be implemented in existing tramrails’ gutters. The profile will support a parallel cycling bicycle wheel, however it will also let a tram wheel pass without hindrance by deforming elastically. The key-element in this innovation is its simplicity which makes it easy to produce in large lengths.

saferails section© SafeRails

Due to the elastic and geometric properties of the product, the profile will compress with a passing tram. However, the SafeRail is engineered in such a way that it will support a bicycle wheel without any trouble!

Such a simple and logical solution. It doesn’t have to be used everywhere, but at busy intersections or those tight spots where cyclists are often forced onto tracks, this could prevent a lot of spills. It is already cleaning up in the competition but add your vote here.

Saferails: A great idea to help cyclists and streetcars share the road more safely
This student invention could make a difference in cities with streetcars

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