Ottawa's bike lanes now snow banks: cyclists

Bike lanes across Ottawa have turned into snowbanks, forcing riders into the streets beside motorists during the winter months.
Ottawa cyclist Don Fugler is unhappy with the snow piling up in bike lanes. (CBC)

Bike lanes across Ottawa have turned into snowbanks, forcing riders into the streets beside motorists during the winter months.

Citizens for Safe Cycling, one of Ottawa's largest cycling groups, said complaints have been piling up at city hall. They said crews are pushing snow into the lanes, leaving cyclists nowhere to go but into traffic.

Cyclist Don Fugler said balancing over slippery spots is tough enough, and that the added worry of sharing lanes with cars may deter cyclists.

"Bike lanes are a wonderful idea, but if you don't maintain them it leads to dangerous situations," Fugler told CBC News.

"I have not found any bike lanes that are cleared," cyclist Geneva Degroot said. "They are basically places to dump snow in the city."

The city actively encourages winter cycling on its website, but it's unclear how it plans to deal with the clearing of bike lanes of snow in the future.

Bike lanes across the city are covered in snow. ((CBC))

The city's road and cycling advisory committee is set to meet Monday to discuss the issue.

City of Ottawa representatives would not comment on the issue Friday.

Alex deVries, vice president of Citizens for Safe Cycling, said Ottawa should follow the lead of other cities with bitter winters.

"Minneapolis (Minnesota) has proportionately twice as many cyclists as Ottawa," deVries said.

"They are able to get those numbers because they clear the bikes lanes in the winter."