• An artists’ rendering of how one of the new Berlin bicycle superhighways will look once constructed.
    An artists’ rendering of how one of the new Berlin bicycle superhighways will look once constructed.
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Berlin is already a much more cycling friendly city than any Australian city. It has a cycling mode share of 13% (that is, the percentage of all trips that are done by bicycle) compared to the best Australian city, Darwin at 3% and Canberra at 2.8%.

Yet as is the case with almost all the international cities that are already well ahead of Australia when it comes to cycling, they are announcing further plans and spending to take them even further ahead.

At the heart of Berlin’s latest plan lie 13 new bike superhighways, approved at the end of February. Narrowed down from an original list of 30, the first two of these new routes should begin construction by the end of 2017. As the ‘highway’ title suggests, these won’t just be ordinary roadside paths. They will be completely segregated, unbroken longer-distance routes that will allow Berliners to get in and out of the city centre much faster and more safely—without ever having to mix with cars.

The new bike highways should be laid out with a seriousness and roominess normally reserved for motor vehicles. To qualify, the new links will have to be at least five kilometres long and offer no more than 30 seconds of stopping time at intersections and traffic lights per kilometre. To allow safe overtaking, the highways’ lanes have to be at least 4 metres wide, shrinking to three metres when the lanes are completely separated into one-way tracks.

All of these parameters are well above the Australian design requirements as stipulated by Austroads.

Most of this article is extracted from a longer story first published on www.citylab.com