Winter Cycling Safety in Metro Vancouver

In Metro Vancouver, cyclists are fortunate to have a surplus of designated bike lanes to use -- allowing riders to cycle through the city as safely as possible.

The downside in BC, however, is the fact that optimal weather for cycling is limited to a few months out of the year. Rainfall in the lower mainland is typical in spring, fall and winter, causing slippery and in some cases, icy road conditions. We’ve compiled a few tips to make your ride as safe and as comfortable as possible.

Stay Warm

It is the law in BC for cyclists to wear helmets while riding. Studies have shown that in the event of a crash, a helmet will significantly reduce your chances of a severe brain injury. Your helmet should have CSA, ANSI, ASTM, or SNELL standards approval clearly marked on it. Ensure that your headgear fits properly and add a well-fitted liner to your approved bicycle helmet to stay comfortable and warm. Check the wear of your bicycle helmet from time to time to make sure it stays in good, safe condition. Warm gloves are also a must when cycling in winter -- keeping your fingers warm and flexible -- allowing you to shift gears and apply the brakes with ease.

Watch Out for Fallen Leaves

Fallen leaves are pretty in the fall, but after a rainfall during winter months, leaves can be slippery on roads and pathways. Stopping your bike on a leaf-covered street can lead to accidents and potential injury. Be aware of your speed and slow down if necessary.

Stay Visible to Drivers & Pedestrians

As winter days get shorter and nightfall arrives sooner, ensure that you stay visible to drivers and pedestrians. Cyclists in BC must wear reflective gear while cycling when visibility is low.

Make sure that your lights are in working order before riding after dark. According to ICBC, cyclists must have a white headlight at the front of their bicycle, which must be visible for a minimum of 150 meters and a red light/reflector installed at the rear of their bicycle, which should be visible for a minimum of 100 meters. It’s wise to be as visible as possible by adding reflective lighting on your wheels and pedals. If you are unsure, check with your local bike shop for advice on the best set up for your needs.

Ride in Bike Lanes

Use designated bike lanes or routes wherever possible – these options are the safest choice and will reduce any chance of collision with vehicles or pedestrians.

Follow the Rules of the Road

Follow road safety rules. Know your hand signals and perform shoulder checks before turning, obey all traffic signs, ensure you are aware of specific road markings and what they mean in your local municipality. Leave adequate distance from other drivers and use caution around parked vehicles.

Use Winter Tires

Just like how you might change your vehicle’s tires in the winter to avoid an accident, changing over to winter bicycle tires can make all the difference while riding in wet, cold and icy weather. There are a variety of options available such as metal studded tires that grip ice while driving and specially formulated rubber tires designed for cold and icy weather. Ensure that your tires are in good condition and inflated to their recommended pressure.

Plan Ahead

Be prepared for low light conditions and poor weather. Install a weather app to keep up-to-date with the latest weather patterns and give yourself extra time.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a traffic accident, contact our compassionate and experienced legal team at Tim Louis Law & Associates. We will help build your claim for the compensation you deserve. To book your free consultation, call 604-732-7678 or email