Bike tracker clocks up 42,000 trips in two weeks

Paul Downie of Sustrans and the counter. Picture: Scott Taylor.
Paul Downie of Sustrans and the counter. Picture: Scott Taylor.
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A CYCLIST counter located in the Meadows has recorded almost 42,000 journeys in just 15 days.

The device was installed on Middle Meadow Walk by sustainable travel group Sustrans on April 25 and shows a live LCD tally that updates as bikes pass its sensors.

It is understood the overall figure may have been somewhat exaggerated by the recent Pedal on Parliament cycle safety event which saws thousands flock to the Meadows.

However, despite this, project leaders said the figures were still impressive with daily tallies of almost 1000 two-wheeled commuters by 9am each morning.

While providing a “visible statement” on the increasing rise of cycling, the data will also prove a boon to city ­planners when co-ordinating integrated travel networks.

Seven other locations across Scotland are set to get the machines, with three to go in Glasgow and one each in Stirling, Inverness, Perth and Benderloch – while the Capital is also to benefit from an additional counter on the Union Canal. A master digital totem pole is also to be erected outside the Scottish Government’s Victoria Quay office in Leith that will display counts from all the devices.

Sustrans community links project officer Paul Downie said: “Cycle counters have been used to great effect in a number of European countries and research shows that they can serve as promotional tools to encourage people to cycle on a daily basis.”

He added: “Pedal on Parliament will have swelled the figure greatly but even without this you’re talking about 2000 people passing that spot a day.”

Sensor loops in the ground connected to the new counters only pick up the wheels on bicycles, not pedestrians or other traffic. Funding of £250,000 has come from the Scottish Government.

Southside councillor and keen cyclist, Cameron Rose, said: “This is a great initiative, public policy needs to be based on hard data and this device offers real-time information.”

This is echoed by city transport convenor Lesley Hinds, who said: “We already knew Middle Meadow Walk was a popular route for cyclists but it’s great to have the evidence. This year we’re committing seven per cent of our transport budget to cycling projects and this kind of data will give us an insight for future investment.”