In Castelnau-le-Lez (Hérault), cyclists see life in fluorescent light. On the Chemin du Clos de l’Armet, a link in the future Réseau express vélo, the metropolis of Montpellier has inaugurated a cycle path unlike any other: thanks to a photoluminescent paint, its markings on the ground, normally visible during the day, light up the night.
This technology “captures and stores the surrounding light during the day and restores it at night in the form of diffused luminosity for ten hours, without electricity consumption or CO2 emissions”, explains the company Olikrom, which developed it. This device provides cyclists with visibility of up to 80 m at the start of the night, and 30 m at the end of the night, “well beyond the 8 meters of bicycle lighting”, continues the start-up.
Soon three other cycle paths will benefit from it
For the metropolis of Montpellier, it is an “experiment”, notes Julie Frêche (PS), vice-president of the community, in charge of mobility. Before considering deploying this device elsewhere in the territory, the community wishes to assess its interest. “Does it serve the users? Does it work all night? Is this technology sustainable over time? For how many years? If it works, it’s a real alternative to public lighting, mainly outside urban areas, says Julie Frêche. Especially on sites with high stakes in terms of biodiversity, which must absolutely be protected from light pollution. »
Three other cycle paths will soon benefit from the same system: the Cournonterral cycle path, that of Salinier, in Grabels, and the greenway, on the banks of the Lez, between Montpellier and Lattes. On these three facilities, there is no lighting at night.
The metropolis of Montpellier is not the first community to acquire such equipment. The technology, labeled in 2019 by the Roads and Streets Innovation Committee, has attracted more than 70 communities and infrastructure managers, for cycle paths, but also pedestrian crossings, locks, or roundabouts.
The very first fluorescent cycle path was inaugurated in the fall of 2018 in Pessac (Gironde), the town of Olikrom, a start-up that developed this innovative tool. “It’s a small added value, on a cycle layout, to avoid lighting that is a little too bright, says Benoît Gillot, coordinator at the Vélocité association in Bordeaux. It does not, however, replace conventional lighting. “This photoluminescent paint allows, he continues, “to reduce it”.