Bicycle Barometers (Bike Counters): PRESTO factsheet Promotion
Bicycle “barometers,” or counters, can serve as a promotional tool to raise awareness of cycling for transportation in an urban context. Bike barometers display the number of cyclists that pass by per day and per year.
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Bicycle barometers are electronic detector devices which can be used on any surface and which detect bicycles (but not pedestrians or other road users). They consist of a sensor and a display. The barometer registers approaching cyclists and sends the data to the system. The display shows the total number of cyclists on a day and/or in whole year.
Highly-visible barometers create a focal point for cycling in a city and lead to a higher identification of the citizens with, and acceptance of, the bicycle as a daily mode of transport. People are often surprised by the number of cyclists in their city and fast-growing numbers are impressive.
Keeping a highly visible count of the number of cyclists in a city serves to raise awareness of cycling as a real transport mode for daily purposes in urban contexts and to communicate that to the public. The installation of electronic bicycle barometers on selected cycle paths:
• shows the wider public how numerous cyclists are in a city and thus raises awareness of cycling as a serious transport mode. The basic idea is to encourage more people to ride by showing how many are already doing it.
• captures data about the number of cyclists per day, in peak hours, on weekends etc., which can otherwise be a difficult, expensive and labour-intensive task. Counters thus provide the basis for monitoring bicycle usage.
• can also be used to encourage cycling and as a publicity tool by offering prizes to the 5,000th cyclist to pass on a given day or the millionth in a given year, for example.
Bicycle barometers are appropriate for climber and champion cities which have a moderate or high cycling modal split (probably at least 10%) and existing bicycle paths.