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Texas A&M University's glow-in-the-dark bike line lights up cyclists

Why it matters to you

Glowing bike lanes provide better nighttime visibility, which means fewer run-ins with cars.

Nighttime cycling has its risks. Even with an assortment of blinking and steady lights mounted on a bicycle, the cyclist can still be hard for car drivers to see. The cyclists themselves need to be more visible.

At Texas A&M University, they have come up with another solution. A newly completed Dutch-style intersection has been given solar luminescent pavement markings to keep the pathways lit up at night. This glow-in-the-dark bike lane is the first of its kind in the United States.

More: Is this the world’s most beautiful bike lane?

This Dutch-style intersection, called a Dutch Junction, was first developed in the Netherlands and refined in other location. It’s an unsignaled intersection with four stop signs for motorized traffic. The point of its design is to move cyclists into the view of motorized vehicles and out of their blind spots. Small islands at the intersection corners separate cars and bicycles turning right. At the same time, it moves cyclists traveling straight into the view of drivers.

“The marriage of the Dutch Junction design and explicit delineation of the bike lanes, with advanced materials that are highly visible both day and night, embody the concept behind the technology initiative — to enhance the safety and mobility options across the Texas A&M University campus,” said Robert Brydia, a senior research scientist at Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

At night, the painted green path has a soft glow. “It’s not an in-your-face blinding light,” Brydia said. “It’s supposed to be softly luminescent. It’s a glow, as opposed to a vibrant display of color.”

Nearly 70,000 students, faculty, and staff travel to and from campus through this intersection. By studying carefully how people use it and surveying the community about how they feel about it, the design can be tested, refined, and implemented in other areas around campus and, hopefully, eventually the nation.