Image Credit Mikael Colville-Andersen
We have not had much snow here in much of North America yet, but in Europe they have been socked with it; Copenhagen has had 18 inches so far. But where we don't get our bike lanes ploughed first (that would be considered a war on the car), if at all.
But Mikael Colville-Andersen writes in The Ultimate Bike Lane Snow Clearance Blogpost!:" During snowstorms I've seen these bike lane sweepers roll back and forth past my flat six times before any snowploughs cleared the street."
I finally learn what those sheets of plastic are: to protect trees from salt.
He explains why:
The result? Clear channels on which the bicycle traffic can move. Prioritizing the bike lanes is, of course, a great and necessary way to encourage people to ride bicycles all through the year. On the other hand, it is also a practical necessity. If the bicycle lanes weren't cleared, a whole lot of people on the day after a snowstorm wouldn't ride.Tens of thousands. They would seek alternatives. Cars, perhaps, but mostly public transport. Imagine the complications of having tens of thousands of people suddenly show up at train stations and bus stops. A logistical nightmare. So keeping the bike lanes clear is an important factor in keeping Copenhagen moving.
Ploughing the bike lanes isn't just a convenience; it is a necessity to keep the system working. More in Copenhagenize
Two years ago they promised to make "special efforts" to plough the bike lanes in Toronto where I live. Citizens were outraged, saying "NO taxpayers should not pay to clear cycle paths in winter. Use some common sense!" I wonder what our new Mayor will say.