Even when it’s cold and snowy, Dave Robertson hops on his bike to get around town.
Robertson: “There’s no special equipment. It’s whatever clothes you’re wearing … put on a jacket, put on a pair of mitts and a hat, and get on your bike and go.”
Robertson is the vice president of Bike Ottawa, a nonprofit group that advocates for bike-friendly infrastructure in Canada’s capital city.
He says many cyclists want to keep riding in winter. It’s less expensive than driving a car and better for the climate. So he says it’s critical that cities keep bike lanes and bike paths plowed.
Robertson: “If you’ve got a snow-covered road or pathway, or it’s very icy, then you see a huge drop in the number of people just because they can’t get through.”
To help cyclists navigate in winter, Bike Ottawa has created a crowdsourced map that shows which routes are free of snow.
Robertson says the city officially maintains a network of about 30 miles of bike paths in winter. And Ottawa plans to double that by 2030.
But biking advocates would like to see that number grow, and faster.
Robertson: “I have to reinforce that it is so important for the pathways and the streets to be well-cleared, and that’s how you get the uptake for winter cycling.”
Reporting Credit: Ethan Freedman/ChavoBart Digital Media