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'Really Excited, That's Great': Snowplows Tackle Denver Bike Lanes, Too

DENVER (CBS4) - While drivers prepare for a messy commute after a snow storm, cyclists are doing the same. Allen Cowgill has been biking to work for years.

"Pretty much every day, 365," Cowgill said. "The first couple of times you do it like anything else you kind of have to go through some growing pains, but it's like anything else in Colorado."

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Denver plows bike lanes (credit: Denver)

He says cyclists can prepare for the cold, but unlike motorists, there's no road report for the bike lanes.

"I think the biggest thing is concerns for safety. You want to have safe ways for people to get into work, and you know have the bike lanes plowed off," he said.

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Denver plows bike lanes (credit: Allen Cowgill)

Nancy Kuhn is the Director of Communication for Denver's Public Works Department.

"We are encouraging people to use other modes of transportation including bikes and that means we need to clear the bike lanes," she said.

With a number of people now riding bicycles year around she says they heard from them that more maintenance needs to be done.

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Denver plows bike lanes (credit: CBS)

"We were able to get some special equipment to help get that going," Kuhn said.

The city now has bike lane snowplows that can easily navigate the protected areas.

"This is probably our second season, and we run the bike lanes as often as we run the big plows so in a 12 hour shift we will get to the protective bike lanes one to two times," she said.

Kuhn says there are about nine miles of protected biked lanes, the rest are what public works calls on street lanes, and those are cleared using standard road plows.

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Denver plows bike lanes (credit: CBS)

"In a big storm it might take us a few more passes to get to the bike lanes we usually start down the center and work our way through consecutive passes out to the curb," she said.

While Cowgill says he's excited about the new equipment but he's hoping in the future it can expand to cover the lanes leading into downtown.

"I'm really excited. That's great. We should have safe ways for people to get to work whether they are biking or walking or taking their vehicle," he said.

RELATED: 'It Shows Where We Are': Snowplow Tracker Aims To Keep Drivers Safe

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