On-Street Bicycle Lanes
All of Denver's on-street bicycle lanes are located on roadways with stripes; these are the streets that are routinely plowed every time snow accumulates. Crews will make every effort to plow through the bike lane to the curb whenever possible; however, during swift, heavy snowfalls, bike lanes may become snow packed. These snowy/icy conditions may linger in the bike lane several days after a storm depending on temperatures, particularly in shady locations. Report icy patches that remain in the bike lane several days after a storm to 3-1-1 and the call will be handled as an ice complaint.
Throughout the winter season, bicyclists should be prepared to ride in a shared lane condition, utilizing the outermost lane available and may consider alternate transportation options based on health, ability, weather conditions and equipment. Bicyclists may need to consider alternate routes and utilize the city’s trail system. People are also encouraged to winterize their bikes and have the right tires for navigating winter conditions.
Protected Bike Lanes
Clearing snow from the City’s protected bikeways requires use of smaller plow equipment. Denver will plow and apply de-icing materials to its protected bikeways when it is appropriate do so, based on weather conditions.
Off-Street Bicycle Trails
Denver Parks and Recreation maintains the City’s network of off-street bicycle trails. Any snow accumulation on a trail greater than one inch will be plowed to the channel side (or down slope side) within 12 hours after the end of a snow fall event. Snow that can’t be accessed by machine will be removed manually. Ice accumulation on the trail will be treated with gravel and/or environmentally safe chemical products.
Bicycling in Winter Snow Conditions
Bicycling in snow conditions can be challenging, so having yourself and your bicycle prepared for the weather is critical. After checking the local weather, decide if your bicycling skills match the daily weather forecast.
- Tire Type - The more tread on your tires, the better. A mountain bike is the ideal bicycle for snow conditions. You may want to consider the addition of fenders upon your bicycle to avoid getting dirt and debris on yourself.
- Air - Let a little air out of your tires to give them more surface area on the snowy pavement.
- Position - Lower your saddle so you can quickly put your foot down to avoid falling in slippery conditions.
- Braking - As in all slippery conditions (such as very wet roads), brake early and in a straight line. You can also apply the back brake (lightly) to test the amount of adhesion you have.
- Apparel - Dress in layers and wear a moisture-resistant outer shell. Warm gloves and shoe coverings are also recommended, as once your outer extremities become wet and cold, riding will become very uncomfortable.
Regular rides in snow conditions can have a negative impact upon your bicycle and its components. Snow and ice can accumulate within the frame, forks, brakes and the front and rear derailleur. This accumulation could impede your ride and damage components unless you regularly remove the excess material. Please consider cleaning your chain after every ride. A chain cleaner, rag and an old toothbrush are all you need. Clean it thoroughly and apply additional lubrication with a chain lube designed for wet/dirty climates. Wipe down your brakes after riding in snow to make sure the contact surfaces with the wheels are clean.
While Denver B-Cycle bicycles will remain open this winter, please be respectful of the equipment and avoid using the bicycles during the harshest winter conditions.