Making the journey safer
You normally travel to work by your chosen route. This may involve cycling down side roads. General advice is to stick to the main roads which have been gritted. This may not always be the case, if a road is particularly slushy. Also, if you hit a slope or an icy patch, don’t be afraid to get off and walk.
If you decide to alter your journey, and are not sure how to go about it, then - if you live in the Greater Bristol area - get hold of the cycle maps produced by the 4 local authorities, which show cycle routes. (These are available from a number of sources, including Life Cycle UK (see our shop and also Better By Bike)
Most councils do not grit cycle paths. Some do. But there is always the capacity for doing more! We urge local councils to have a strategy for gritting cycle paths as part of an overall strategy for promoting cycling. Bristol City Council is criticised for many things, but one thing it does do is to grit the Bristol-Bath Railway path, and other selected routes. York produce a 'winter maintenance leaflet each year which says of cyclists “Off-road council cycle routes are treated with grit sand at the beginning of winter and then monitored to see if further sanding is necessary. Cyclists are advised to take care”.
For the winter (2011/12), York were going to adopt a new approach to gritting cycle routes with 5 mini-gritters going out simultaneously to grit the network and have also prioritised which routes we feel are the most used by commuters and these are done first. York use grit sand rather than salt as we’ve always steered clear of salt due to it’s corrosive nature, grit sand potentially gives cyclists more grip when it’s icy. We recognise the need for some authoritative research into the effectiveness of such gritting programmes and identification of the most effective ways to carry it out. (Bicycle wheels are obviously much narrower than car wheels, and there are only two of them. Grtting therefore needs to dissolve ice over a smaller area.)