Here is a story about a street sweeper, also known as the "Bikeway Cleaner", that is pedal powered, four wheeled bicycle with two seats and a mechanism to sweep debris from the road. [via Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation (MIST)]
The pedaled sweeper is a 4-wheel bike with 2 seats. There is an attached sweeper and the bike pulls a 2-wheeled trailer. The bike was built for a community garden program to be a pedaled tiller. It was not heavy enough for that so they gave it to Free Cycles (a program of MIST). We simplified it and attached the sweeper, which we found at a junk yard.
Continued below... (click on image to enlarge.)
The rolling wheels of the sweeper that touch the ground also turn the 3' wide brush forward really fast, so that the debris is kicked back into the catcher. We put a garbage bag inside the catcher, which is then put into the trailer when full. Sand and dirt can fill the bag at the rate of about 4 gallons per half mile when the bike lane is dirty. It's really fun going over broken bottles and carnage from car wrecks because the bike lane is left clean enough to eat off of (: To 'close the loop' we should be composting the pickings, yet it might actually be considered toxic waste):
Missoula is mostly flat in the valley but the bridges and outgoing roads make it a good work out (a bonus for volunteers needing exercise), but we have lots of gears. We installed a handle that lifts the sweeper up and down, so you can engage the sweeper when you want.
It would be great to rig this up to any old bicycle; we know it is possible and probably simple and we are working on this right now. A plow can work for snow, but maybe a roller would be fine, to take away the ice ridges that cause one's front wheel to move around. We have also thought of water spray systems for really nice cleaning in the spring, but it would be easier to just go pedaling after a rain, and drag old carpet or some other 'wiper'. This seems clunky though.
This whole sweeper unit barely fits into a 5' bike lane. We have a colorful sign we sometimes attach that says 'Bikeway Cleaner'. This thing even picks up squished beer cans. Yes, jurisdictions should take care of the lanes, but we think it's OK for citizens to chip in. Feel free to use this photo and information for whatever purpose you have. Also, please send us comments on ways to improve these systems...email@example.com