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Cycling in the winter is much like preparing for other outdoor winter activities. With a few adjustments you can keep cycling through the winter.

Keep Rolling When It's Snowing - Winter Cycling Brochure

Winter Cycling Guide

Find out how bike lanes are prioritised when the City clears snow.

Learn how to cycle year-round with confidence and comfort at a Winter Cycling Workshop.

How to use the bike routes downtown, south side and west central.

Prepare For The Ride

Suit Up

Cycle Smart

  • Layer up! Wear a waterproof, windproof and breathable outer layer, a warm moisture-wicking inner layer and long underwear
  • Keep your extremities warm with good gloves or mittens, socks and boots
  • Heat escapes through your head. Cover it up, but be sure your helmet will fit over top
  • Keep the snow and wind out of your eyes with goggles
  • Tuck in your scarf so it doesn’t get caught
  • Avoid wearing glasses, watches, jewellery or zipper pulls - they can get cold enough to give you frostbite
Get In Gear

Get In Gear

  • Consider a single gear bike or dedicated winter bike
  • A back fender can keep the slush off, but it can also trap snow and ice if it is too tight-fitting
  • To minimize possible rust, clean your bike often
  • Clean and lubricate your chains, brakes and cables
  • Good tires can improve traction. Install studded or knobby tires, slightly deflate your tires for added grip and choose wide tires
Stand Out

Stand Out

Required Equipment

Your bike must have a white headlamp, a red tail lamp and a red rear reflector if you bike in the dark in Edmonton. 

Recommended Equipment

Consider adding a light to the back of your bike. Extra LED lights can also be mounted to your helmet or handlebars to help light your way. Add reflectors such as vests, straps, tape or plastic pieces to your bicycle or clothing.

Cycle Smart

Suit Up

Riding
  • Cycle more defensively and anticipate problems
  • Slow down and pedal smoothly while watching out for other vehicles on the road
  • Make eye contact with drivers to ensure you are seen
  • Keep your head up and scan the route ahead while evaluating the road condition directly in front of you
  • Avoid quick turns and leaning too much into curves
  • Stay in a straight line - avoid over-steering or weaving
  • Brake early and slowly, primarily using your rear brakes
Take A Bus

If conditions deteriorate, hop on a bus or LRT. Most City buses have bike racks and bikes are allowed on the LRT during off-peak hours. Find out more about bikes on ETS.

Food and Water

The winter air is dry, so drink water to stay hydrated during your ride. A small snack can give you the extra energy you need to stay warm.

Winter Bike Lane Maintenance

The City times the clearing of bike lanes to align with adjacent main roads to help ensure that all travellers on our busiest traffic routes are entitled to the same road maintenance standards, regardless of mode. Bike traffic is not prioritized over vehicle traffic; rather, our practices help keep all types of traffic moving.

The City aims to plow and remove snow on bike lanes within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall. Shared-use paths are cleared within 48 hours after the end of a snowfall.

Many bike lanes and multi-use paths are part of the anti-icing pilot.

Road maintenance activities involved in maintaining clear bike lanes include applying anti-icer, sweeping, removing snow from buffer areas and clearing snow from adjacent sidewalks.

Winter Roads - Frequently Asked Questions

Anti-Icing Pilot Bike Map

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are the bike lanes cleared while the driving lanes aren’t?

Generally, the protected bike routes are cleared with the same priority as arterial roads for cars.

Bike lanes are often cleared sooner than some roads because there are fewer bike lanes to clear. There is over 2,100 km of major collector roads and only 7.8 km of downtown bike lanes.

Different staff and equipment are used to clear protected bike lanes so clearing them does not slow down road clearing efforts.

Protected bike lanes are part of the city's overall winter maintenance program.

When and how do the bike lanes get plowed during the winter?
When We Clear Bike Lanes

Snow from the protected bike lanes will be cleared at the same priority as other major roads.

How We Clear Bike Lanes

If the bike lane is at least 3 metres wide you can expect to see a street sweeper, a truck with a front mount blade or a broom to plow to bare pavement. The largest piece of equipment that fits in the bike lanes is a snow blower mounted on a piece of heavy equipment that can blow all the snow into trucks to be hauled away. Wherever the bike lanes are reduced to less than 3 metres, smaller equipment, such as skid steer loaders or tractors will be used. You may also see a truck with a liquid tank that can apply anti-icing material.

Is it the law to have a light on your bike?

When riding after dark, bikes must have a front headlight, a red tail light and a red rear reflector.

Bicycle Equipment – Part 6 Division 5 Section 113

Reflective vests and other light coloured clothes with reflective tape are recommended for extra visibility.

Do I need to take care of my bike differently during the winter?
  • To minimize possible rust, clean your bike often
  • Clean and oil your chains and cables
  • Good tires can improve traction
  • Install studded or knobby tires; slightly deflate your tire for added grip; and choose wide tires
  • A back fender can keep the slush off clothes
  • You may also consider a single gear bike or dedicated winter bike
What do I do if I start biking and the weather conditions get worse?

If conditions deteriorate, hop on a bus or LRT. All City buses have bike racks and bikes are allowed on the LRT during off-peak hours. 

Bikes On ETS

Who do I contact if a bike lane is not cleared or if I have questions about snow removal?

If you have concerns about snow and ice management, please contact 311.

Will the protected bike lanes be used during the winter?

The bike lanes will still be usable in the winter as they will be cleared within 24-48 hours of a snowfall.

Request A Ride Along

Interactive tours led by the City's Bike Education Street Team.

Winter Cycling

Roadway Alerts

Sign up to be the first to know about major plowing events and parking bans.

For More Information

Roadway Maintenance

Telephone

Call 311 for more information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Note: Email is monitored during business hours.

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/cityofedmonton
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/cityofedmonton

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