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Bicycle counter launched along the Grand Canal

Dublin City Council launched its first automated bicycle counter last week as part of European Mobility Week.

It is part of a planned network of counters funded by the National Transport Authority (NTA). The counter launched yesterday along the Grand Canal between Harold’s Cross and Rathmines, and another near UCD on the N11 installed at the start of the year, cost around €20,000 each.

The main cost is the tall on-street units which have electronic displays built in showing the numbers of cyclists passing them daily and yearly. The counter at the Grand Canal also shows the time and air temperature.

Dublin City Council is looking at installing another counter unit on the north side of the city, while Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council also plans two more, one at Clonskeagh Road at UCD and the other on the Rock Road at Booterstown.

The trial also includes counting locations without the display units which are a fraction of the cost. One of these is currently installed on The Metals walking and cycle route in Dun Laoghaire, while another is planned for the N11.

Over 1,250 cyclists passed by the counter in its first 24 hours, between 10am on Monday and Tuesday, before it was reset for a photoshoot with the lord mayor.

The counter uses electromagnetic inductive loops in the road – the sensors which are also used at traffic lights can tell the difference between cyclists and other traffic. The information is relayed to Dublin City Council’s traffic control centre.

Ciarán Fallon, the city council cycling officer, said the counters act as a useful tool for planning and promotes cycling.

He said he does not think motorists will “suddenly hop out of their cars and walk into the local bike shop” but that the counter unit would be an encouragement for all passing it.

“A lot of people driving on this road are doing journeys which aren’t cyclable but there’s a large proportion which are travelling less than 5km – probably in and around 40% – those trips could be quicker, more convenient, and cheaper for people. It’s getting people to consider cycling.”

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Dublin lord mayor Andrew Montague said, “It’s all part of gathering information, which is really important if we’re going to make progress and make good decisions what to do.”

Montague said more people cycled in the city than the amount of people who use the Luas, but “We have spent very, very little on cycling and can easily justify spending more.”

He said if €10 million a year was spend on cycling every year the city could “easily” double or triple the amount of cyclists.

Also to mark European Mobility Week, the council plans transform Dame Court in the city centre into an “urban park” with Astroturf. The street will be closed to traffic on Thursday.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said so-far this year just under 82,000 cyclists passed its counter on the N11. That counter had a daily peak of 760 cyclists but an average of only 312.

A spokesman for the council said, “Tuesday is the busiest day of the week for cyclists and that bicycle numbers are very low at weekends — with no commuters or students — and this affects the daily average.”

Counting the cost of the passing bicycles (Irish Independent)
Bicycle counter costing €20k unable to give proper tally of passing cyclists (Irish Examiner) is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

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Cian Ginty

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