Local cycling advocacy group Bike Ottawa has launched a useful winter bike route maintenance map, which aims to give winter cyclists as up-to-date-as-possible info on the state of our local bike paths through the winter.

“It’s hard to know what’s plowed. And when you’re on a bike, that matters a lot,” Bike Ottawa president Heather Shearer told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning.

Bike Ottawa's winter biking maintenance map

Data for the new winter maintenance map is crowdsourced and can be updated by anyone, ensuring that Bike Ottawa gets as much info as possible, since the City does not provide this info on their own. Of course crowdsourcing is also susceptible to false info (though why would someone bother to scam a public service like this, right?), so there’s a chance the information won’t always be completely accurate.

“We’re not giving a guarantee with this, that [it’s] 100-per-cent correct, but it is the best available information,” says Heather Shearer, Bike Ottawa president. “We hope that just with time and people using it, it will be pretty accurate.”

The conditions of pathways in winter are an annual gripe among cyclists, but Shearer isn’t quick to judge the city’s snow-clearing efforts.

“I know how hard it is to plow all the roads. We have a massive road network and pathway network and sidewalk network — thousands of kilometres. It’s a big job. You’re not going to get to everything right away,” she said.

“So I always try to be patient, but yeah, we do want to see service eventually.”


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