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The first snowfall doesn’t have to mean the end of bike season. When riding your bike in the winter plan ahead to keep warm and safe.

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

Plan Your Route

Choose your route based on road conditions.

After a snowfall in Edmonton:

  • Snow from designated bicycle lanes will be plowed with the same priority as the associated roadway
  • Shared-use paths and shared-use sidewalks are cleared of snow within 48 hours after a snowfall ends

Winter Roads - Frequently Asked Questions

Prepare For the Ride

Technique

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.

Equipment

  • 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 tire for added grip; and choose wide tires

Clothing

  • 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
  • Be sure to 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

Lights

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.

Winter Cycling

Notifications

Roadway Alerts

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
Email parksandroads@edmonton.ca
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/cityofedmonton
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/cityofedmonton

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