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Activated Lighting

David Hembrow reports that a new lighting system has been installed along a rural stretch of bike path in The Netherlands. The bike path is parallel to a rural highway connecting several small communities

The new lights will operate at night time at half power, but passing cyclists can press a button at either end of the route to switch the lights onto full power for enough time to ride the 3 km distance. This measure reduces both energy consumption and disturbance of night-time wildlife due to the lights. If it’s successful, the same system will be installed at other locations in Drenthe.

This is a great idea, but why wait for them to push buttons to activate the lights? Why not use some active detection methods to turn the lights on automatically?

3 comments to Activated Lighting

  • Personally, I’d prefer the lights at half power (or no power), so maybe they are giving people an option. But it seems more likely they didn’t think of it or it was too expensive.

  • I think more likely, a motion sensor would be set off too easily — wildlife or a passing car. This is a cool idea, though. Netherlands, Denmark, and other bike-friendly European countries put us TO SHAME when it comes to lighting. In Denmark there is simply are not highways that are not lighted. City streets are consistently and heavily lit (they use suspended lights that are positioned directly over the street, rather than at the edges). Rural roads are lighted too, albeit on a somewhat lower level.

    To think that we allow even urban trails like the Hiawatha LRT Trail or the Cedar Lake Trail to be totally dark sends the message that bicycling is limited transportation choice, only good for summer and daytime. It also creates safety and security issues. I have a great light, but most people aren’t going to drop $100-$300 for a really bright bike headlight.

  • Angie

    I would imagine if they want to avoid disturbing wildlife, the wildlife itself could set off motion sensored lights.

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