The first snow of 2015 surprised us last Saturday. The day before, the weather services had predicted black ice and they even issued a weather alarm. But it wasn’t black ice we all woke up to, it was a coat of snow. The railways were taken by surprise and a lot of the train traffic came to a hold. Drivers also didn’t take enough care and many a car crashed. A bus driver crashed his bus almost into a home, but it came to a standstill against the roof’s gutter. But people kept on cycling.
Cities around the country had tried to keep the roads clear of snow and ice. Late Friday night ʼs-Hertogenbosch announced on Twitter that the men were already on their way.
They cleared the streets and the cycle routes very well again. That makes cycling in winter possible, it can never be as easy as in summer, but it comes close. To see just how close, or in other words, to see how much difference there is between cycling in summer and winter, I prepared a video for you. I cycled the exact same route twice, once in summer and once in winter conditions and I can now show you the images of both rides side by side.
I chose this particular route because it has many types of cycling infrastructure in a short ride. In 4 minute 15 seconds you can see separated cycleways, on-street cycle lanes and a service street/cycle street. There are several types of junctions too. The video starts with a give way crossing, then there is a T-junction without traffic lights and one with signals. There is a roundabout and some smaller side-streets and it ends on a typical four-arm junction with protected cycleways all around it.
My video with a side by side comparison of summer and winter cycling conditions. The video has no sound.
I have prepared some stills to point out some details that I think are worth mentioning.
I will explain more about why winter cycling is no real issue in The Netherlands on the Winter Cycling Congress in Leeuwarden (NL), this February, with Herbert Tiemens of the Province of Utrecht.