Winter maintenance of cycle paths

In the winter, we clear the cycle paths in Helsinki from snow, as well as prevent slippery conditions. The cycling conditions are the best on cycling routes covered by intensified winter maintenance.

On this page

Cycling routes with intensified winter maintenance

Sweeping and salting, red route

Intensified ploughing, blue route

Cycling routes with intensified winter maintenance on a map - Open larger map(Link leads to external service)

The cycling network subjected to intensified winter maintenance covers approximately 105 km of cycle paths from Lauttasaari to Vuosaari and from Malmi to the city centre. There are new routes in the winter season 2023–2024 along the Jokeri Light Rail between Herttoniemi and Oulunkylä as well as in Pitäjänmäki, for example.  About half of the routes are swept and salted and another half treated with intensified ploughing. 

Sweeping and salting (red route) 

  • We carry out intensified maintenance on the route on weekdays from 7.00 to 19.00 and at weekends from 7.00 to 17.00.  
  • We remove the snow by sweeping and we prevent slipperiness by spraying a salt solution on the paths. In extremely cold weather, we may resort to gritting also on sweeping and salting routes to prevent slippery conditions.

Instead of brushing, we piloted ploughing with a rubber blade on the route between Lehtisaari and Taka-Töölö that removes the slush. Slippery conditions are prevented with salt solution. 

Intensified ploughing (blue route)

  • We plough the route by 7.00 in the morning. We also carry out intensified ploughing on the route between 3.00 and 17.00, within four hours of the end of snowfall at the latest.  
  • In the autumn and early winter, we prevent slipperiness with salt, rather than sand. We spread sand in the winter. 

We also carry out intensified winter maintenance on the pavements next to the cycling routes if the responsibility for maintaining the pavements falls to the City of Helsinki. 

Winter maintenance on other cycle paths 

We maintain cycle paths not covered by intensified winter maintenance by ploughing and spreading sand on them. The order of priority given to each path is based on its maintenance class.  

We start ploughing when the thickness of the layer of snow exceeds 5 centimetres. After ploughing, we spread sand on the bikeways as necessary.  

During continuous snowfall, we first head for bikeways in Classes A and B and try to keep them accessible. After the snowfall has stopped, we plough the cycle paths and pavements as follows: 

  • Class A: ploughed by 7.00 in the morning
    Between 3.00 and 17.00, we also plough the route within four hours of the end of snowfall.  
  • Class B: ploughed by 10.00 in the morning
    Between 6.00 and 17.00, we also plough the route within four hours of the end of snowfall. 
  • Class C: ploughed by 12.00 noon
    Between 4.00 and 13.00, we also plough the route within eight hours of the end of snowfall. 

During exceptionally heavy snowfall, the amount of snow on the streets may pile up so high that we will have to deviate from this plan.   

Cycle path and pavement maintenance classes 

Class A: red  Class B: orange  Class C: yellow

There is no winter maintenance on the light blue route.

Cycle path and pavement maintenance classes on a map - Open larger map(Link leads to external service)

Frequently asked questions about cycle path maintenance

We spread sand on cycle paths to ensure safe cycling during slippery weather. The Finnish Act on the Maintenance, Cleaning and Clearing of Streets and Certain Public Areas also obligates us to prevent slipperiness. 

The network of bikeways in Helsinki is extensive, and the ground may quickly turn slippery. Because of this, we take proactive measures to prevent slippery conditions. We also sometimes do so when there is no snow on the ground if the weather forecast predicts momentary slippery conditions caused by frost, for example. We prevent slippery conditions by using sand or salt (routes with intensified winter maintenance).  

By taking measures against slippery conditions, we can prevent cyclists from slipping and falling. This work also improves the safety of pedestrians, as the majority of cycle paths in Helsinki are shared-use paths used by both cyclists and pedestrians. 

We do not grit sweeping and salting routes with intensified winter maintenance. On the sweeping and salting routes, we use a mild saline solution to prevent slippery conditions. In extremely cold weather, when the efficiency of the salt decreases, we sometimes have to resort to gritting.

We also keep routes subject to intensified ploughing free of sand in the early winter and use salt to prevent the occasional slippery conditions. 

Our goal is for Helsinki to be a cycling city suitable for cyclists of all ages throughout the year. We plan to extend the network of bikeways with intensified winter maintenance to cover 150 kilometres by 2025. Our intensified winter maintenance covers the most popular cycling routes. This way, as many Helsinki residents as possible will benefit from the winter maintenance. We also improve the quality of winter maintenance on other bikeways. 

For more information on our measures, please see the Bicycle Action Plan (in Finnish).

 

If you notice a dangerous hole or obstacle on a cycle path, please informs us about it through the by using the feedback form. 

Go to the feedback form(Link leads to external service)

If possible, please also attach a photo of the site in question to the feedback form and indicate its location on the map found on the form.  You can also send us the location’s coordinates if you can see them on your phone. By providing additional information, you can help us take care of the issue more quickly! 

Please note! If you notice an obstacle on a cycle path that poses an immediate risk of a life-threatening accident, for example, please call the emergency number 112.