The snow doesn’t stop cyclists and Victoria’s snow brushes are clearing the bike lanes thoroughly. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Victoria opts for snow brushes to clear bike lanes for second year in a row

Cyclists say brushes clear snow better than plows

Instead of snowplows, the City of Victoria is using brushes to clear bike lanes and cyclists say it’s the best method.

The municipality began using the brushes – which attach to the existing Bobcat fleet – when the region got snow in early 2019, explained Sheldon Johnson, manager of engagement for Victoria.

The City currently owns two of the large brushes and simply attaches them to the existing low-sulphur diesel-powered Bobcat utility vehicles. Johnson pointed out that the brushes work better because they fit in the bike lanes.

Corey Burger, a board of director member for the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition, explained that aside from the fact that the brushes actually fit the bike lanes, brushing is better than plowing because it makes the road safer. The large, cylindrical brushes conform to the surface of the road and “get as close to a bare surface as possible,” he said.

In the past, Victoria has plowed the bike lanes, but the plows aren’t thorough enough, Burger said. He noted that salting the bike lanes isn’t a good option either because, unlike vehicles, bikes aren’t heavy enough to crush the salt into the snow and can’t handle slush.

People are still biking in the winter, even if there’s snow, Burger said, and the process of adding beet brine to the lanes to warm the surface, brushing the snow away and then sanding as needed makes it so cyclists will be safe doing so.

Johnson pointed out that the time it takes to clear the bike lanes varies “depending on the nature of the event.” If the snow is still falling, it will take crews longer to get the lanes ready for cyclists.

Burger emphasized that he feels sidewalks should be cleared before the bike lanes as a matter of equity. He pointed out that while it is the homeowner’s job to clear the adjacent sidewalks, many don’t or can’t. Burger wishes the snow brushes would be used to clear walkways and bus stops so that everyone who isn’t driving can still get around.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Six months to Francophone Games, 600 volunteers needed

Online applications open on Jan. 14

Tech consortium invests $25 million into four University of Victoria research projects

Investments come with goal of developing, implement technologies created by Canadians

Organizers seek input for long-awaited Oaklands community garden

Oswald Park Community Garden Design Workshop coming up on Jan. 19

Improperly transporting a pet in the back of the truck can cost up to $368

Police recommend keeping all animals inside the passenger portion of the vehicle

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

Most Read