San Francisco Debuts First Bike Counter in CA

San Franciscans had something extra to celebrate on Bike to Work Day this May.  On May 9 the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency unveiled the state’s first bike traffic counter on Market Street, the city’s primary artery for bicycle commuting. First popularized in Copenhagen, their busiest counter records over 36,000 bicycle trips every day.  Recently bike counters have been popping up in the U.S., most noticeably in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA.

photo: Jim Dyer

photo: Jim Dyer

What Gets Counted, Gets Attention, Gets Managed

More than just a novelty, bike counters provide real proof of the demand for bicycling. The Market Street bike counter (recording travel in one direction) has seen over 60,000 bicycle trips in its first month of operation.  The information it gathers is provided online to the public for free, letting all who are interested view the daily changes in bicycle traffic on Market Street.

Market Street is one of the emblematic bike corridors for the city of San Francisco. The bike lanes are painted green and are often separated from traffic with buffers and raised bollards, making the bike commute easier and safer for a wider swath of San Franciscans.  The results of the bike counter are another in a long line of examples where advanced, protected bicycle infrastructure has led to increases in bicycle ridership. The SF bike counter bears out this truth with each bicycle trip it records.

San Francisco’s bike counter is funded by a joint collaboration between a local online gaming company and the SFMTA. The Central Market Community Benefits District has agreed to provide continuing maintenance for the bike counter.