'Soft' sidewalks to reduce bicycle crashes

© April Streeter

Leave it to the Swedes (who have taken a pledge to reduce traffic deaths to zero, and actually work toward that goal) to create a better material with which to make bike paths safer.

At the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), researchers are working on a new form of asphalt that has enough friction to reduce bicyclists' slide-outs, while at the same time it cushions vibrations if a cyclist does fall.

Regular asphalt uses crushed stones and bitumen, a petroleum byproduct, as a binding agent. KTH's researchers are working to blend in just the right amount of recycled tire rubber from old car tires to soften up the mix.

The first step is lab testing, then real-world road tests on areas where there have been frequent bike accidents. The Swedish Traffic Administration is paying special attention to cyclists as one of the transport groups suffering more injuries than car, truck, or public transport riders. About 1,500 cyclists are hospitalized in Sweden with serious injuries each year - a number almost 10% higher than the number of car passengers injured.

Two Swedish women researchers, Åsa Laurell Lyne and Viveca Wallqvist (both cyclists) are working on the project, and hope to find a formula for asfalt that also reduces wear and tear on bicycle tires.

Via: Dagens Nyheter

'Soft' sidewalks to reduce bicycle crashes
Leave it to Swedish scientists, who are developing a softer material to make bike paths and sidewalks with. Now that's truly a bike-friendly world.

Related Content on Treehugger.com