A crowd of people gathered on the Hawthorne Bridge on Wednesday to see Portland's first-in-the-U.S. visual bicycle counter start registering each cyclist that passed by in real time.
Cycle Oregon donated the counter at a public event with the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Multnomah County before a long string of cyclists rode by.
"Today is not about getting more people in Spandex shorts. That's not something any of us wants to see. Today is about getting more people decent paychecks. Rising healthcare costs continue to cripple job creation in our city. We have to find ways for urban dwellers to enjoy more active lifestyles," said Cycle Oregon co-founder Jonathan Nicholas.
"That's as simple as giving them more opportunities for safe walking and cycling. By bringing us accurate real-time data, this bike counter will help us better plan the public investments essential to our future as a city that works," he noted.
"I work at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge and every day see the increasing bike traffic on the bridge. About one in five vehicles crossing the bridge is a bicycle today," said Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury.
"This new facility will help us document this trend so we can improve our planning and facilities for bicycle travel in the region," she said.
Portland's visual bike counter, also known as a "bike barometer," is a tool to collect data on the number of bikes in a location over a period of time and display the data in real-time for the public to see.
Bike counters are used in cities worldwide working to raise awareness of the positive impact bicycling has on traffic congestion, air quality and personal health.
Portland's bike counter is the first of its kind in North America.
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