The Bike Counters are Not Seeing the Bikes

The Bike Counters are Not Seeing the Bikes

After work on wed 26th August 2020 ChiCycle supporters tested out the Avenue de Chartres Pop-Up cycle lanes that only fully opened the previous day on Tues 25th Aug.

Sarah Sharp mentioned hearing that WSCC traffic counters were only reporting low numbers of bicycles using the cycle lanes. When ChiCycle previously tested out the northern sections of the Pop-Up cycle-lanes on Sun 16th Aug, we noticed the WSCC bicycle count was implausibly low considering the number of people that cycled the route. 

The traffic counts are publicly available if you apply for a user login with WSCC on this link.

While people tried out the new Southern section of the Pop-Up scheme an Wednesday afternoon, Laura Eccott, Sara Sharp and Mark Record made traffic counts as cyclist crossed the bicycle counter inductive sensors.

Our manual count showed that the sensors are more likely than not to miss passing cyclists without incrementing the WSCC traffic database database tally. A comparison between our manual counts and the WSCC automated cycle counts is shown below.

Cycle count
A ChiCycle count Vs WSCC automated traffic count of cycles on Avenue de Chartres

ChiCycle have now identified that both the Oakland’s Way counter and the Avenue de Chartres counters are reporting faulty data. We are curious to know it this is a wider issue with assessments of cycle usage throughout West Sussex that use similar counters mounted in grey boxes.

We will get in touch with the local authorities about this problem and update this page when we find out more about the issue. 


3 thoughts on “The Bike Counters are Not Seeing the Bikes

  1. I monitor the cycle counter on the a259 between littlehampton and Bognor. That one is a magnetic sensor under the tarmac and a grey box and is generally accurate. Doubts exist from some cyclists when it comes to carbon bikes travelling quickly, but I dont know if that is just hearsay.
    Either way, I use the counter to promote the path as the numbers are very good and prove the success of the cycling provision locally.

    1. Thanks for the input James,
      You say Bognor-Littlehampton sensor is accurate, Have you done a count over a period of time to check it corresponds with the WSCC numbers?
      The Chichester sensors we checked are also magnetic induction loop types but they are also combined with bigger loops to sense motor-vehicle traffic.
      Large counts are always likely to contain small errors but the Chichester counters have significant errors.
      WSCC say they are going to take a look.
      When time allows, we’ll check other local counters. It makes a pleasant social outing with on bikes and it is good to make sure local authorities are collecting the right data about cycle use.
      Best Regards,

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