Winter Bike Lane Maintenance

A Review of National and International Best Practices

This white paper provides collected best practices on winter bikeway maintenance as seen in US cities and around the world. The paper covers snow removal from bikeways, different types of de-icing surface applications and their advantages/disadvantages, and best practices for winter maintenance prioritization and scheduling. The paper also includes a brief discussion on innovative winter maintenance techniques either in use or in development.

by Alta Planning + Design

As bike infrastructure continues to grow in the US, so does the need to maintain these facilities year-round. The regular maintenance of bike infrastructure is important in towns and cities with established bicycling networks and significant bicycling populations – if jurisdictions provide bicycle facilities, they can expect that people will use them year-round.

The winter maintenance of bikeways should be a planned, regular activity in cities and towns that receive significant amounts of snowfall. Bicycles have different winter needs than motor vehicles—for example, less weight and tire surface area means they are more sensitive to snow and ice—and winter roadway maintenance programs should have specialized practices to respond to these needs. However, many cities fail to adequately maintain their bicycling networks in the winter months. This is typically due to inexperience with winter bikeway maintenance, constrained roadway maintenance budgets, and/or inadequate equipment.

This white paper provides collected best practices on winter bikeway maintenance as seen in North American cities and around the world. The paper covers snow removal from bikeways, different types of de-icing surface applications and their advantages/disadvantages, and best practices for winter maintenance prioritization and scheduling. The paper also includes a brief discussion on innovative winter maintenance techniques either in use or in development.

Attached document published February 2014

About the Author


Alta is more than a planning and design firm – our 200 expert planners, engineers, designers and encouragement specialists are on hand for each and every aspect of the work needed to help you create your active community.

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