News Environment This Bike Lane Is Covered in Solar Panels (It's Also in the Middle of a Highway) By Mary Jo DiLonardo Mary Jo DiLonardo LinkedIn Twitter Senior Writer University of Cincinnati Mary Jo DiLonardo has worked in print, online, and broadcast journalism for 25 years and covers nature, health, science, and animals. Learn about our editorial process Updated December 18, 2019 Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Right in the middle of a highway is interesting placement for a bicycle lane. In South Korea, there's a solar bike path that shields riders from the sun while at the same time generating power from it. The bicycle lane runs for 20 miles between Daejeon and Sejong, reports Fast Company. Cyclists get on and off the path via underground tunnels. Once they're on the path, they're protected by side barriers from three lanes of traffic on each side. Although that doesn't make for lovely roadside views, it does offer sun protection, and the solar panels provide enough electricity to power the lights along the highway, as well as charging stations for electric vehicles. This isn't the first solar bicycle lane. SolaRoad in the Netherlands cost $3.7 million for 230 feet of on-the-ground solar panels, according to Lloyd Alter over on sister site TreeHugger. Bicyclists ride on top of the panels instead of under them — an arrangement that has many critics. Is that best place for a bike lane? When the story about the South Korean bike lane was posted on Reddit, the discussion quickly homed in on why similar bike paths aren't happening in the United States. But several commenters pointed out that riding in the middle of the highway isn't necessarily ideal. Some suggested the side of the road would be a better place for a solar path, while others suggested anywhere but near all those cars would be a better option. "This is literally the worst possible placement of a bike path," said Engelberto. "Enjoy the deafening noise and breathe in the pollution. Bike paths are fairly non-intrusive in all kinds of land uses. They can be built almost anywhere else and be actually inviting to use."