Plan to keep Exeter’s busiest cycle routes moving through the winter

New equipment is being tested to help ensure that the city’s busiest bike paths will be able to keep rolling next winter.

The initiative is led by Devon County Council with support from Exeter City Council.

From this week, as part of Devon’s cold weather service, cyclists and pedestrians can see a small ‘ranger’ vehicle dealing with many of the city’s main cycle routes.

CDC winter service treatments often continue well into May and, despite recent warm weather, a cold front is expected over the next few weeks and this week is a good opportunity to test equipment.

The Council uses a combination of forecasts and data from our roadside weather stations to determine when treatment is needed and the latest data has been used to map the most frequently used cycle routes in the city. This will form the basis of the trial processing route.

This includes sections in Countess Wear, Marsh Barton, City Centre, Stoke Hill, Whipton and Pinhoe.

The route also includes a number of bridges around the river and canal – they will be dealt with separately by hand.

The trial is ongoing to better understand its feasibility and how it might work in practice.

CDC will also undertake “dry” runs on some of the other popular bike paths in the area to test the equipment’s ability to operate on the network. This will help determine what type of equipment would be most effective in the future.

The results of the trial will be monitored and will help influence future policy decisions.

The program is part of DCC’s ongoing commitment to improving the health and well-being of residents through increased activity and reduced emissions, as outlined in its 2021-2025 Strategic Plan.

It is also in recognition of cyclists’ concerns that routes can become slippery, and it is hoped the trial will encourage more people to walk and cycle shorter distances in cold weather.

Each route was chosen because it makes around 1,000 bike journeys every day.

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