5000+ Bikes

5000+ bikes
The bike counter at Science World is now routinely passing 5000 cyclists each day. This was taken before 10 pm and it was already at 5362. A lot of cyclists cut through the parking lot and miss the counter so the number of cyclists in the area is actually a lot higher.

I wish there were counters like this at other high traffic areas in Vancouver – the Burrard Bridge and along Dunsmuir would be perfect spots. I’d also love to get my hands on the historical data feed for this counter.


  1. Once upon a time, the cycling community beamed at all the new gadgets & neat innovations: the tools at science world, the 2 bike pumps, and the bike counter! Too bad the all don’t work anymore.

    I am one of the 1000’s of bikes that pass Science World each day, but I’m only counted the 60% (IMO) of the time that it works. The other 40% of the time, there seems to be an all too often malfunction that stalls the count at a fixed number. One Sunny Saturday April Day, I looked with disgust at the counter number stuck at 573 though there probably would’ve been >6000 cyclists that passed the area that day. What use is a counter when it counts only 80% of bikes passing the area and malfunctions 60% of the time?


    • I find the counter reasonably reliable. All sensors have some error rate. I think the in-ground magnetic loops have a lower error rate then the air tubes (which often get tangled or cut). The only time I see it miss counts is when cyclists bike down the middle of the path, on the edge of the two sensors. I’ve also seen it get stuck once for two days, but that’s it.

      I think the reason you often see people doing manual counts along the bike routes is to verify the sensor numbers and determine what the error rate is. If you knew the error rate, you could easily extrapolate what the true number is.

      The biggest advantage of the Science World counter, even if error prone, is it gives a ballpark number of the cyclists in the area and publicizes it. I’d never guess that there were 5000+ cyclists passing through that area every day without the counter data. The historical data will also show year-over-year trends once it’s been running for that long.


  2. I would like to find a site with the data as well. I’m just curious. Also it would be neat to know just how many bikes go through the corridor between Station Street and False Creek.

    What’s funny is the rhetoric of some anti-cycling types on forums that claim that there aren’t many people who cycle in the whole city. Then they go on about how there are too many of them. Which is it? Are there too many or not enough?
    Things like this bike counter and sensors on the bike lanes are important to have as there are those who cannot imagine how popular cycling really is.


      • Well it is on the surface counter-intuitive. If you have some objects and a container and you make the container smaller, you can’t get as many objects in it. I don’t blame them for thinking that congestion will get worse.
        But of course we all know now that some of the traffic in the first place was only there because of the lack of choices in the past. Wasn’t there that study that said 60% of people want to cycle for their short trips but don’t because the conditions aren’t good. That’s 60% fewer cars on the street if there were somewhere safe and pleasant to cycle to the store in.


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