Last winter, cyclists in Zaanstad could enter slippery locations or locations where they may have fallen, into a website specially developed by the Fietsberaad. A total of about 200 entries were received. The idea behind this is to quickly inform municipalities of bottlenecks encountered by cyclists. Municipalities can therefore respond quickly and provide information on measures taken, via Twitter and other communication channels. On the basis of this and other pilots, the Fietsberaad has put together a report containing among other things a phased plan to be followed by road authorities in order to determine how to perform winter maintenance on bicycle routes structurally and efficiently.
Most important is the designation of a main cycling network that will be subjected to priority winter maintenance. It is after all not feasible nor affordable to combat slipperiness on all roads and paths. One must make choices and commit these to a clear map of the cycling routes on which the road authority will perform winter maintenance.
The basis of this map is an analysis of the most important points of departure and arrival such as shops, schools, work locations, and public facilities. For this reason it is essential that a traffic planner from the municipality needs to be involved.
A good communication strategy enhances the effectiveness of winter maintenance and investments. For example, a dynamically updated digital map can show cyclists where winter maintenance is taking place. It is also recommended that performance indicators be established for winter maintenance on the cycling network: how fast does one respond when slipperiness is reported, how much icing agent is used, etc.
Finally, a good evaluation is also necessary. Must budgets and goals be adjusted? Are changes in the winter maintenance network desirable? Can winter maintenance vehicles be deployed more efficiently?
The evaluation can lead to desired modifications to the infrastructure. A common example is the removal of poles/bollards on cycling paths, allowing winter maintenance vehicles easier access. Accidents can also be prevented by replacing those sections paved with bricks on a cycling path that is otherwise asphalted.