.citycycling

.wintertreatment

.night is the other half of life, and the better half - goethe

The downside, however, to all of this upcoming darkness (for the northern hemishpere at least) is that it heralds the onset of winter, and with that the coming of the cold. And snow. And ice. And with that the annual conundrum of 'just how long will it take the council to clear the cyclepaths'. I don't know about councils around the rest of the country, but my own experiences suggest that here the answer will be, 'Hahahahahahahahaha! Sorry, what was the question?'.

The last two years have seen cyclepaths go untreated for the entire winter. I can understand the need to prioritise routes, I genuinely can, but there seems to be a deal of burying of heads in the snow. It's all fine and well clearing an arterial road for the motorised traffic, but if you are going to force cyclists either to use that same route, or worse to jump into their cars to use that route, the resultant congestion becomes completely unmanageable. And it's one instance where I can say cyclists' safety is completely compromised, as with snow banks either side of the road limiting width and run-off space, and many many drivers not realising the common sense approach of slowing down in such conditions, turns a daily commute into running a glissade gauntlet.

The latest winter guidance has been issued by our council. Cyclepaths will be treated 'when resources persmit'. It's a convenient get-out clause, and one which will likely see a repeat of the last few years' inaction. A full 3 weeks after the roads were clear of ice and snow there was still a hard-packed layer of the slippery stuff on one of the main off-road cyclepaths in the city. 2-3 miles of cycle highway rendered useless to all but those with spiky tyres. This year the nonsensical approach is compounded. The priority list has 19 cyclepath access ramps listed as priority 1 or 2. Sounds great. But oh yes. The paths themselves will be cleared 'when resources permit'. We'll get you down to the paths safely, but hey, after that you're on your own!

It's a frustration that has been long-standing. Two years ago many cyclists (including me) contacted the council about the parlous state of the paths. We were told that plans were being put into motion to place grit bins at each end of the path. Grit bins at either end of a 1-2 mile section of path. What exactly was supposed to happen? The first cyclist has to take a bucket to spread the grit as he cycles? Cloud cuckoo land is lovely this time of year I hear. Mind you, the even the grit bins failed to arrive, and last winter the issue was simply fudged with, you guessed it, a lack of resources which were looking after the roads. They simply ignored any shouts of derision for the reasoning in those 3 weeks or so when the roads were clear and the paths still treacherous.

So what's happening where you are? Are you expecting a Christmas present of Danish style path clearing? Or are you resigned, once again, to a winter of discontent?

.the end

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