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World’s first glow-in-the-dark bike path lights the way for Dutch cyclists

Some of the Netherlands’ five million cyclists can now enjoy safer rides thanks to the launch this week of the world’s first glow-in-the-dark cycle way.

Clearer than road reflectors, cheaper than street lights, and a lot more fun than a bicycle light, the new bike path winds its way through a small part of Nuenen, a town about 60 miles (100km) south of Amsterdam.

Featuring swirly patterns inspired by the work of Dutch artist Van Gogh – a one-time resident of Nuenen – the path uses “electronic paint” to clearly mark the way for those cycling at night.

The special paint is the work of a team led by artist Daan Roosegaarde, who told the BBC the finished result offers “energy neutral landscapes that are both practical and poetic,” adding, “It’s like you’re cycling through a painting.”

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The glow-in-the-dark effect is achieved by combining paint with a ‘photo-luminising’ powder to create a substance that charges up during daylight hours and gives off a soft green glow for up to eight hours after the sun goes down.

The new cycle path (shown below) currently only runs for about a mile, though over time it’s likely the paint will be used more widely in the Netherlands and beyond, with the UK and Qatar, for example, also showing an interest.

Roosegaarde was also in the news last month when the world’s first highway using the same glowing technology was opened for vehicles in the Netherlands. However, the luminous paint was applied only in simple straight lines – presumably to encourage drivers to concentrate on driving rather than gazing slack-jawed at dreamy Van Gogh-inspired designs whizzing by.

[Images: Studio Roosegaarde]