August 8, 2012

A crowd of people gathered on Multnomah County’s Hawthorne Bridge recently to see the 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 hosted by Multnomah County and the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

The visual bike counter – also known as a “bike barometer” – will 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.

"I work at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge and every day see the increasing bike traffic on the bridge," said Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury at the Aug. 8 unveiling. "About one in five vehicles crossing the bridge is a bicycle today. This new facility will help us document this trend so we can improve our planning and facilities for bicycle travel in the region."

Increasing the number of people who bicycle is a long-range goal of the city to reduce congestion and air pollution, improve personal health and save Portlanders money by making a low-cost transportation option attractive and safe.

Multnomah County, which owns the bridge and manages the space where the counter is installed, was a key partner in making the Portland bike counter a reality. The City of Portland will own and maintain the bike counter.