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WINTER

Here’s how to safely cycle through the Swedish winter

If you want to keep cycling once winter takes hold in Sweden, there are steps you can take to improve both safety and comfort.

Here’s how to safely cycle through the Swedish winter
Photo: Berit Roald/NTB Scanpix/TT

It’s not just cars that benefit from adaptation for safe winter transport.

Bicycle tyres can also be switched to studded versions to provided firmer grip on icy or snow-covered Swedish cycle lanes.

“When winter truly takes hold, studded tyres are the clear best choice for cyclists,” Klas Elm, CEO of Svensk Cykling (Swedish Cycling), said.

Although many in Sweden chose to park their bikes over the winter months, the number of year-round pedallers in the Scandinavian country is increasing.

A survey conducted by insurance company If found that one in three people cycles during the colder half of the year.

“And more people are buying studded tyres for their bikes. In recent years, sales have been such that stores have run out of stock, even though purchases have been increased from suppliers each season to meet demand. It’s a very clear trend,” Elm said.

However, many winter cyclists are still not changing the tyres on their bikes between seasons, according to the If survey. The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) has meanwhile carried out a comparison of winter and normal tyres and found the studs to have an important effect when ice crystals are lying on the road.

“We can see from our tests that studded tyres provide much better friction on ice than normal tyres,” VTI head of research Anna Niska said.


Photo: Jonas Ekström/TT

Tyres are not the only thing to keep in mind when travelling on two wheels in sub-zero. Good headlights, taillights and reflectors are important for good visibility in the lower light levels, while suitable clothing is also important.

“It’s important to keep your hands, feet and head warm as well as your buttocks, for example with lined trousers. All contact with the vehicle itself should be kept warm,” Elm said.

A lined hat is also recommended for wearing under cycle helmets, which should be used regardless of conditions.

As always, it is vital to be alert at all times when cycling in winter.

“Some places become slippery earlier than others particularly bridges. There may be good friction elsewhere while bridges are hazardous,” Niska said.

READ ALSO: Eight essential rules and tips for cycling in Sweden

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OPINION & ANALYSIS

OPINION: ID-checks between Sweden and Denmark should not be brought back

Sweden's government on Tuesday announced plans to bring back ID checks on Sweden's borders. Niels Paarup-Petersen, a Malmö MP, has launched a campaign to stop them.

OPINION: ID-checks between Sweden and Denmark should not be brought back

Bringing in ID-checks is illegal, ineffective, and devastating for the labour market in the Öresund region. That the government, despite all this, is pushing ahead with them anyway is almost impossible to understand. 

Once again, the government’s first response to a crisis is to bring back the ID-checks that tear our region in two.

Once again, they’re doing this without giving either the regional government or those operating the transport services a chance to give their input.

Once again, the idea is that Skåne and the Öresund Region should pay the price for solving Sweden’s challenges.

Once again, commuters will have to wait for half an hour at Kastrup. Once again the transport system in Skåne will be wrecked. 

READ ALSO: Sweden to bring back border controls to control Ukraine arrivals

It’s bloody awful, to be frank.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that it is illegal to put the responsibility on transport operators across a Schengen border. The Office of the Chancellor of Justice has come to the same conclusions.

Ukrainians have the right to enter the country, which means that they will not be stopped by the ID controls. If you want to have a better understanding of who is crossing the border, there are still ‘temporary’ border controls in place after six years.

Making the transport operator responsible for ID controls work when applied to ferries and flights, where there is only one place where you can get on or off. When you have continuous traffic, such as with trains or cars, it has a devastating effect on the traffic and on all of the people using them.  

ID checks are completely illegal, unnecessary, and irrational.

Region Skåne, the municipalities in Skåne, and all of my colleagues from Skåne in the national parliament must now all put their feet down. 

ID checks on the Öresund Bridge should not be brought back! 

Niels Paarup-Petersen is an MP representing Malmö for the Centre Party. He was born and grew up in Denmark and has worked for the Öresund Bridge Consortium.

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