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Ice - Employers

What employers can do!  Employers Resources

'Over 1000 cyclists a year come off their bikes on ice and end up in hospital. Icy conditions are clearly something to take very seriously. Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to say ‘don’t cycle if there is a risk of ice’, I would say treat it with upmost respect.

If you do decide to ride when there is a risk of ice:

  • try to use treated roads (main roads)
  • take it very easily and allow time for surprises
  • don’t brake if you realise you are on ice
  • walk down steeper hills
  • wear padded clothes
  • consider a helmet.

Overall allow more time for your journey and accept that you will be going slower and probably walking some of it.

Mike Ginger, Highways Agency: 'Leading employers know that cycling is an excellent way for staff to get to work, keep fit, reduce car park management charges, and reduce sickness absence. But according to the NHS, slipping on ice causes a large number of injuries to commuting cyclists every year.'

To help minimise absence and keep cyclists safe we recommend that employers:

  • Raise awareness of the benefits of cycling and the hazards of slipping on ice, so employees can make their own decisions about how to commute and can plan ahead
  • Adopt or amend existing inclement weather policies to refer specifically to the hazards posed by cyclists who commute in icy conditions
  • Help by providing an up to date resource of public transport, and car share information to help staff get to work more safely when it freezes.
  • Try to raise awareness: Publicise the benefits of cycling,  Publicise the hazards of cycling in icy weather, you could produce your own version of this Highways Agency poster, and circulate it Highways Agency poster, Send an e-card, such as Thinking of cycling to work when it freezes? Check these websites and before you make your decision: Life Cycle * IceBike * Avonsafe We have produced a leaflet - in conjunction with NHS Bristol, describing the aims of the project to employers. Please download it, distribute it and read it:

Download the leaflet for employers here.

Inclement Weather Policy:

Your organisation may already have an inclement weather policy. If you do not, we recommend that you adopt a policy that describes (amongst other things) how you support and encourage cycle commuters, alert cyclists to the risks of cycling in frozen conditions and make it easier for staff to plan ahead for getting to work in bad weather. If you do have an inclement weather policy, we recommend that you review it to make sure that it makes specific reference to injury risks from cycle commuting in icy weather. 

Questions to consider:

1. Does the policy encourage people to cycle to work, and informs them of the particular risks they face in frozen conditions?

2. Does the policy state how the organisation will remind people of the hazards of commuting by bike in frozen conditions so that they can make appropriate plans to minimise disruption in the case of bad weather?

3. When the weather freezes, what advice does the policy give to people who usually cycle to work?

4. Does the policy state what is expected of staff if they face difficult commuting journeys?

5. Does the policy state how managers should respond if people face difficult or dangerous journeys to work?

6. Does the policy discuss alternative working arrangements?

7. Does the policy state how late arrival or the necessity for early departure due to hazardous weather will be managed?

Draft paragraphs are available for you to consider here*.

This policy based on the policy created by 'Ask Pip'. We have added paragraphs (marked in Red) specifically about cycling in bad weather. Please let us know if you have a policy that relates to cycling in bad weather that you are happy for us to use as an example. *Life Cycle UK does not have expertise in any other part of this policy - and neither endorses not rejects it, merely uses it as an example.