Reader: If Denver Wants People to Bike to Work, It Has to Clear the Snow!

Winter Bike to Work Day was February 14.
Winter Bike to Work Day was February 14.
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Do you commute to work on a bicycle in the winter? Despite ice and snow still on the streets, hundreds of Denver riders took part in the city's fourth International Bike to Work Day on February 14, in one of the country's most enthusiastic turnouts, stopping by Civic Center Park for free burritos, drinks, hand warmers and advice.

"Honestly, the bike that people have already, it's going to work 95 percent of the time," said David Pulsipher, bicycle planning supervisor for the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI), who was on hand to greet riders. "Especially if you have fenders and lights. Sometimes having a set of winter tires and stuff like that helps, but you don't really need special equipment."

Maybe not if the city is using its equipment to keep the streets and bike lanes clear, readers point out. Says Mark:

 If Denver wants people to commit to biking during the winter, Denver has to commit to plowing the snow off the fucking streets.

Adds Anthony:

 I’m all for getting cars off the streets and going green, etc., but this just seems dangerous. I’ve seen several people slip and fall on ice on their bikes this year. I’m just glad I was following from a safe distance. If you fall in the wrong direction, it could be your last fall....Most of the bike lanes on the street have all the snow plowed on them after a snowstorm, making them super-icy and dangerous to ride.

Comments Christopher: 

I ride my bike to work in snow sometimes; I slid out on the ice in the bike lane once because of the ice that formed from the plows putting all the snow there.

Responds Amber Bartlett: 

Wait, how are you going to bike without special gear if the roads are not plowed?

Suggests Terrence: 

It's not convenient for everyone, but I'd deff encourage everyone to try. I personally would not ride in the winter without studded tires, though; it's been a game changer for me. Also suggest a balaclava and nice winter gloves or pogies.

Replies Jeremy: 

That's a solid "nope" from me...I'll continue to commute by myself, in my warm comfy classic bimmer, heat set at a balmy 78°, getting 14 miles per gallon in the city....Because it's America, it's legal & I can afford it.

My bicycle is safely tucked away at home until the weather's nice and it's not winter. I'm not stupid enough to ride in the snow and cold when it's unnecessary.

Notes John: 

The city could REALLY HELP winter cyclists by doing a better job of plowing around town. There are still many sidestreets (i.e., the ones safest for cyclists!) that are covered in packed snow that has become ICE. Not really the safest thing for cyclists. Or any travelers! 

Concludes Steven: 

Denver residents: Hey, we need more light rail and bus service!

City of Denver: have you considered the joys of riding your bike in the snow? 

Getting more people to bike to work — and to do so year-round — will be a critical step for Denver as it seeks to lower the share of Denver residents commuting in single-occupant vehicles (SOVs) to under 50 percent by 2030, notes Chase Woodruff in his report about the event. 

Mayor Michael Hancock has announced plans to build 125 miles of new bike lanes by 2023, and officials at the recently rebranded DOTI, formerly the Department of Public Works, are pushing ahead with a new implementation strategy that they say will speed up the buildout.

But will the city clear snow off those new bike lanes? Post a comment, or share your thoughts at editorial@westword.com.

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