It would be Portland.

Have you seen the episode of Portlandia where local cyclists raise $20,000 to fund a machine that keeps track of bicycle traffic?

Oh wait, that’s not something from IFC’s send-up of hipster Portland. It’s real life!

America’s first bike barometer debuted last night at midnight in Portland, Oregon, on the incoming side of Hawthorne Bridge. By the morning press conference, the number of cyclists was over 2,000. Previous data suggests that over 8,000 riders will have passed by the end of the day.

Funded by a gift from local non-profit Cycle Oregon, which celebrates its 25th birthday this year, the machine uses two inflated tubes to record the passage of each cyclists. The degree and timing of the pressure allows the device to distinguish bicycles from pedestrians. Each rider is counted on a digital display, which provides data for the city but also a source of pride for bike commuters.

“It’s really meant to celebrate bikes,” said Roger Geller, the Portland Bicycle Coordinator, in the StreetFilms video below.

Bicycle counters are already a prominent feature of European cities like Copenhagen, whose Nørrebrogade counter records several tens of thousands of bikers each day. It’s surprising that it took this long for the U.S. to install a bicycle barometer—high-profile bicycle debates could use the statistics. Well, when it rains it pours: Seattle looks to be hot on Portland's heels.

Video courtesy of StreetFilms.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    The Problem With a Coronavirus Rent Strike

    Because of coronavirus, millions of tenants won’t be able to write rent checks. But calls for a rent holiday often ignore the longer-term economic effects.

  2. photo: a For Rent sign in a window in San Francisco.
    Coronavirus

    Do Landlords Deserve a Coronavirus Bailout, Too?

    Some renters and homeowners are getting financial assistance during the economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. What about landlords?

  3. Coronavirus

    Why Asian Countries Have Succeeded in Flattening the Curve

    To help flatten the curve in the Covid-19 outbreak, officials at all levels of government are asking people to stay home. Here's what’s worked, and what hasn't.

  4. photo: South Korean soldiers attempt to disinfect the sidewalks of Seoul's Gagnam district in response to the spread of COVID-19.
    Coronavirus

    Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem

    Will COVID-19 change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization and pandemic preparation.  

  5. Equity

    We'll Need To Reopen Our Cities. But Not Without Making Changes First.

    We must prepare for a protracted battle with coronavirus. But there are changes we can make now to prepare locked-down cities for what’s next.

×