The importance of winter maintenance for cyclists

Single bicycle accidents represent more than 70% of all bicycle accidents in Sweden and the biggest influencing factor is slippery surfaces, mainly caused by ice and snow. In addition, the winter maintenance service level is significant for the accessibility of cyclists and for their decision to cycle or not. According to road maintenance administrators the most difficult conditions to manage in cycleway maintenance is thawing and freezing, resulting in slush followed by icy ruts and slipperiness. In this paper, winter maintenance of cycleways will be discussed from various perspectives, based on several studies performed at VTI. The effects on safety related to winter maintenance is estimated using accident data based on reports from hospital emergency rooms. In total, almost 18 000 bicycle accidents were analysed. The paper will also present the opinion of cyclists concerning the importance of the winter road condition for their perceived safety, their travel time, etc. The results are based on focus group studies performed in two Swedish cities with different climate and daylight conditions. The cyclists’ opinion will also be compared to the perception of road maintenance administrators. Road maintenance administrators from 13 different municipalities in Sweden have been interviewed.

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