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Urban Environment Division’s customer service at Työpajankatu 8 is exceptionally closed 10-31 January. Customers are mainly served online and by phone.

Winter maintenance of cycle paths

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

Cycling routes with intensified winter maintenance

Sweeping and salting, red route
Intensified ploughing, blue route

The intensified winter maintenance network covers roughly 75 kilometres of bikeways, from the western district of Lauttasaari to the eastern district of Vuosaari and from Malmi to the city centre. New routes introduced during the 2021–2022 winter season include routes between the eastern districts of Itäkeskus and Mellunmäki as well as between the central district of Pasila and Viikki to the east. Sweeping and salting is used on 47 kilometres of the routes, while intensified snow ploughing is used on 28 kilometres.

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.   

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 them 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.

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. 

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We do not spread sand on routes that are swept and treated with salt as part of intensified winter maintenance. We use a diluted salt solution to combat slippery conditions as necessary.  

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

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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).

 

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

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.

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