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Chicago may be getting solar-powered floating bike paths

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Chicagoans could soon expect a fantastic addition to their city. River Ride will be a year-round, car-freebicycle pathway composed of steel-reinforced concrete pontoons floating along the Chicago River between Horner and Ping Tom.

Designed by Second Shore and manufactured by Marinetek, River Ride will stay ice and snow-free, thanks to solar panels installed above each segment. These will power lighting, precipitation-activated awnings and heating conduits embedded into the surface of the structure.

According to reports, a large majority of citizens are hesitant to ride a bicycle on roads with cars. In 2014, there has been an increase in cyclist fatalities and auto-related cyclist injuries. The mayor, however, is determined to see his city become the most bike-friendly city in the United States. His plan is to place bicycle racks and hubs within a half-mile of every Chicagoan, construct more bikeways where more people live and commute, and build infrastructure to match need and stimulate growth.

The River Ride alongside the Chicago River will be composed of steel-reinforced concrete pontoon segments developed by Marinetek, a global leader in floating structures. The parts will be produced off-site, floated into place and secured with pilings driven in riverbed. Solar panels above each segment will power lighting, precipitation-activated awnings and heating conduit embedded in the segment surface to prevent icing and snow build-up. Guardrails will be also installed in order to minimize injury during a fall and snow plowing into river.

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