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Winter Cycling in Edmonton

Cycling in the winter can improve your mood, reduce stress and get you energized!

Be Safe : Be Prepared

Dress For the Conditions : Suit Up

  • 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
  • Bring water to stay hydrated and a snack for extra energy to stay warm

Ride to the Conditions : Cycle Smart

  • 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
  • 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. See bikes on ETS.

Prepare and Maintain Your Bike : 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

Required Equipment : Stand Out

If you bike in the dark in Edmonton, your bike must have:

  • A white headlamp
  • A red tail lamp
  • A red rear reflector

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

Printable Resources

Keep Rolling When It's Snowing - Winter Cycling Brochure

Winter Cycling Guide

Cycling in Edmonton

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.

For More Information

Roadway Maintenance


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

TTY 780-944-5555

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