Cyclists Vs. Rails in Zurich

As I 've continued to scour through the 10+ hours of footage I shot last month in Groningen, Amsterdam and Zurich, I've been trying to find ways to get Streetfilms fans some video and posts about what I experienced.

One thing that super impressed me was during my three days in Zurich I saw no cyclists crash while navigating the omnipresent surface rails for the 15 tram lines that run all over Zurich. I was told by some there are certainly problems and crashes happen, but I saw some real pro rail riding behavior.  I ended up capturing just a little bit for your consumption in this shortie.

Alas, great news comes today from one of my Zurich interview subjects, Nelson Carrasco.  The city is experimenting with rail treatments that will make bicycling on streets with rails much safer.  Essentially, it seems they will be testing a material that is strong enough to support a bicycle but will yield to the weight when a tram runs over it.

The English-translation of the above post is essentially: "We are testing a new bike-friendly rail system, which is intended to prevent bicycle tires getting jammed in the tram rail." For all those who really want to read the entire article (and in English) I ran it through a translator and will post the text at the bottom after the jump.

Of course anytime I've travel to other rail-heavy cities, I'm mesmerized by how cyclists navigate rails, in particular because if the thought of crashing is terrifying for me as a very experienced cyclist, I can't imagine what it is like for a new-bee or someone transporting a child.  Many years ago in Seattle I shot this impromptu footage of sharrows used to direct cyclists how to approach rails.

San Francisco, Portland, Salt Lake City and plenty of other U.S. cities might want to take notice!



And for anyone who wanted to read the text translation, here you go!

"During the summer holidays in Zurich is the sword Arthur Cohn - gala station restored and refurbished for disabled people. Also the tracks will be replaced. The VBZ takes this opportunity to test a new rail system. This will prevent jamming of Velopneus in tracks. At a length of 90 meters, the construction. A Gummifullung is attached in the Schienenrille. Trams during the passage of the fill is pressed down, but not during the passage of bicycles. These are too easy. For the construction of the station the VBZ sword invest a total of around 2.7 million Swiss francs. The additional costs for the new rail system is 415' 000 Swiss francs.

First test at all, it is the

innovative Schienenkonstruktion is tested now, for the first time in public transport. The requirements are high. Also notes that cycling guests spend an average should increase the security for the new material and at the same time must be the burden of passing trams. Similarly, it must withstand weather conditions a wide variety: heat, cold, rain, snow or ice. In the winter, in addition to the load of road salt.

The city of Zurich and the VBZ with this attempt at a contribution to increase the security for also notes that cycling guests spend an average, as in the municipal council since 2007 has consistently demanded. The attempt is a measure from the Velolabor implemented the master plan bike. The master plan of the city of Zurich bike is a central element of the program "Urban Transport 2025" and its objectives is used at different levels. The experiment should be successful, this does not automatically lead to a replacement of existing whish vegetables are organically grown. Much more would be provided for the installation at neuralgic points very often, where many also notes that cycling guests spend an average close to the track or drive this cross. This is as far as it needs to but even with a successful attempt for further development work.

First insights in the spring 2014

in Europe there are currently no product, which was successfully tested over a longer period. Also in the center of the city of Zurich were trials such as in route (ALBISRIEDEN-KLUSPLATZ )not successfully since 2007. So far there have been reinforced in the existing rails installed. These have quickly worn by the driving of the trams and had to be removed. The knowledge gained from these experiments could be the installation of a Gummifullers alone, that does not seem to work. For a new experiment had to be considered so the whole rail system. The Verdrangungsraum for the built-in filler material had to be large, to ensure they don't come back by the sharp wheel flanges cut. If the attempt is successful, the next few months will show. In spring 2014, the VBZ balance."