By now, we’re all very well aware of the endless list of benefits that comes with partaking in regular physical activity — and of the positive environmental impact that not driving to our destinations has on our planet. After all, cycling is by far the best, most eco-friendly way to commute due to its lack of harmful carbon emissions, encouragement of exercise, and, of course, the fact that it allows you to weave in and out of rush-hour traffic.
Opting for a two-wheeled navigation tool over a gas-guzzling machine also means saving money and time you might otherwise spend waiting at traffic lights and driving around town trying to find a parking spot where you won’t get ticketed. Pair all that with increased community interaction, and it almost seems like biking can’t help but make for happier citizens. That’s why in Poland, TPA Instytut Badań Technicznych Sp. z o.o. has created a solar-powered bike path that illuminates under the night sky to encourage riders to keep indulging their good habits even after night has fallen.
Inspired by Studio Roosegaarde and their own 2014 glow-in-the-dark lane in Eindhoven, Netherlands, the Starry Night bike path is made from a similarly luminescent synthetic material called phosphor, which lights up in the evening after it’s been energized by the sunlight. The material stores this energy over a long period of time, allowing the path to shine for over 10 hours before it needs to naturally recharge again.
The self-sufficient, cost-effective bike path is located near Lidzbark Warminski, and while it was originally devised to ensure the safety of cyclists at night time, it’s gone on to attract a lot of attention from tourists keen just to ride on a futuristic looking track, becoming a bit of a novelty in its own right. The whole thing cost $31,000 to install, and although it was completed back in September 2016, it’s still under supervision due to the uncertainty of its longevity under the wave of visitors who are currently using it. The 330-foot-long luminescent lane is split into two six-foot-wide sections, allowing both cyclists and pedestrians to use it side-by-side throughout the park.
Although the phosphors can radiate different colours, the town mutually decided that they wanted this particular path to radiate blue in order to match the nearby lakes — and of course give a nod to one of Van Gogh’s most famous works of art, The Starry Night.