BMW is known for building luxury cars but now it wants to branch out- into bike infrastructure. According to Wired, the automaker wants to build a network of bike lanes above street level and call I the the E3 Way— elevated, electric, and efficient. BMW says this could help fight vehicle congestion and ease emissions by making cycling a safer, more convenient, and thus more popular, way to get around.
This network is just a prototype so far and there are no firm plans to build one in any particular city yet. If it ever happens, BMW says their bikeways will be for electric bikes and scooters (because they build those but not regular, non-electric bikes), with a speed limit of 15.5 mph. The E3 Way would feature ramps and sluice systems to handle merging. Video surveillance and artificial intelligence would monitor the flow of traffic. Most of the network will have a roof for rainy days.
This isn’t the first time this idea has been floated. In January 2014, a similar plan was proposed for London, called SkyCycle. One hundred and forty miles of raised, car-free, 50-foot-wide bike paths would connect six million people, accommodating 12,000 riders an hour according to that plan. The price was $10.7 billion and so far there are no signs that the project is moving forward.
Xiamen, in southeast China, has an elevated bikeway that stretches under 5 miles and in the Netherlands, an elevated bridge takes cyclists over a waterfront shopping area and one of the the city of Eindhoven’s busiest intersection.