Bicycling In Winter
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BICYCLING IN WINTER

The majority of Indy's on-street bicycle lanes are located on major thoroughfares and secondary streets; 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 or shoulder whenever possible.

During swift, heavy snowfall, however, bike lanes may become snow packed. In these conditions, bicyclists can count on the vehicle travel lane to likely be the clearest option and should be prepared to ride in a shared lane condition during snow season.

If the city experiences a major snow event (12 inches of snow or more), bicyclists may want to consider alternative transportation options, such as IndyGo.

ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN

After checking the local weather, decide if your bicycling skill set matches the daily weather forecast.

  • Tire Type - The more tread on your tires the better. A mountain bike, while riding in the snow is ideal.
  • Air - Let a little air out of your tires to give you more surface area on the snowy pavement.
  • Position - Lower your saddle so you can quickly put your foot down.
  • Braking - As in any slippery conditions (such as very wet roads), brake early and in a straight line. You can also use the back brake to test the amount of adhesion you have.
  • Apparel - Dress in layers.
  • Clean Up - Clean your chain and drive train after almost every ride. A chain cleaner, rag and an old toothbrush are all you need. Just clean it up and regrease it with a chain lube designed for wet/dirty climates. Wipe down your brakes after snowy to sure the contact surfaces with the wheels are clean.

FACTS ABOUT BIKE LANES AND SNOW

  • Total snow and ice control in on-street bike lanes is difficult due to the nature of location and level of use.
  • Bicycles lack the tire size and weight to effectively crush and move the salt granules around to promote melting action.
  • Lack of heat from tire friction and drivetrain radiation limits the effectiveness of salt applications.
  • The location of bike lanes at the edge of the road also subjects them to run off from melted snow plowed to the edges. This daily runoff refreezes.

PACERS BIKESHARE

Pacers Bikeshare and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail are both open during the winter season.

INDY GREENWAYS 

The City's greenways trails are open 24 hours year-round. Indy Snow Force provides snow and ice control for the City's greenways. To report issues with snow and ice along one of the City's greenways, use RequestIndy or call the Mayor's Action Center at (317) 327-4622.