New Bike Route Barrier Design Repurposes Scrapped Tires
A Milwaukee design team has produced an award-winning bike lane barrier made from discarded car tires. Reproducible at scale and easy to build with a few tools, the WeCLAIM barrier promises to repurpose a share of the 300 million car tires that are scrapped each year in the United States alone.
“With the expansion of temporary road closures and the surge in cycling during COVID-19, this new barrier could be the quick solution many cities need,” writes Fast Company. The design, which won the Build a Better Bike Challenge, is being hailed as a significant improvement over the “flimsy and costly” barriers currently in use in many cities.
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“The skinny plastic poles commonly used to create a barrier between car and bike lanes often end up like roadkill, flat on the ground after being driven over—and that’s if they exist in the first place.”
Knowing that cities are often slow to fix traditional barriers when they are (often) broken, WeCLAIM designers Caressa Givens, a program manager at a Wisconsin-wide cycling organization, and Arthur Talayko, an industrial designer, looked to create something that communities could fix themselves.
The choice of raw material was obvious, given that 20% of the nearly 300 million tires the U.S. throws away each year end up in landfills.
Spin, the Ford-owned scooter/e-bike company that sponsored the design competition, plans to connect Givens and Talayko with D-Ford, the parent company’s internal design firm, “to produce a refined prototype of the barrier.”
For their part, “Talayko and Givens plan to make the barrier assembly instructions open source, and are hopeful that people will take their design and start making their own barriers,” Fast Company says. A series of flower-filled rubber planters is one of the options proposed by the pair.
For Givens, the design is part of a larger project to “back-engineer our cities so that they are people-centred like they were in the late 1800s, for example, but with 21st-century technology, and just a little less mud.”