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Reuters/Jim Young
Say goodbye to bike lanes.

Germany has opened its first autobahn for bicycles

By Frida Garza

Germany has opened the first stretch of its new highway just for bicycles—a new way for two-wheeled enthusiasts to commute without the fear of an oncoming four-wheel vehicle.

The newly opened portion is just 5km (3 miles)— but the completed highway is set to span over 100km and will connect 10 cities and four universities, according to the Agence France-Presse. Almost two million people will live less than a mile from the new cycling autobahn, according to a spokesperson from the route’s developer, RVR.

Financing the entire project, however, presents a challenge. The AFP reports that Germany typically leaves cycling projects to local governments. However, RVR, which put up some funding for the 5km track opened yesterday (Dec. 29), says that the German government is in talks to raise €180 million ($196 million) needed to fund the entire highway.

If it becomes a reality, the bicycle-only autobahn is sure to be a welcome upgrade from the narrow lanes for cyclists found in Germany cities—which may be demarcated with paint, but don’t offer cyclists much protection from traffic, CityLab noted earlier this year. According to plans published this summer by Süddeutsche Zeitung (link in German), the bicycle highway will be 13-feet wide—or almost double the width of normal cycle paths—and have no crossroads or traffic lights.

The bicycle highway won’t just be convenient for those who prefer to bike to work; it’ll also be greener. RVR estimates that the route will take 50,000 cars off the roads every day.