Electric mini-street sweeper will enable protected bike lanes

  • Date: 03/10/2023

Protected bike lanes — or cycling paths that are physically separated from roadways to keep cars away from more vulnerable micromobility vehicles — are becoming increasingly demanded by a growing population of bike commuters in the US. And in one case, they’re finally being enabled by a surprising source: a cute little electric mini-street sweeper.

The pint-sized electric maintenance vehicle, known as a Westvac LS125, was the last piece of the puzzle missing for Ann Arbor, Michigan’s protected bike lane plan.

The city has hoped to create more protected bike lanes along its roadways by installing bollards or vertical separators. But the narrow lanes would have been too small for the city’s maintenance vehicles to navigate.

Bike lanes, like roadways, require frequent street sweeping to rid them of dangerous debris and obstacles. In fact, such maintenance is perhaps even more critical on paths used by two-wheeled vehicles.

The City Council voted unanimously this week to buy an approximately $250,000 electric mini-sweeper that would enable the city to finally install separators along bike lanes while still maintaining the road surface.

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