Windsor

Bike advocacy group counts the number of cyclists in Windsor's riverfront

According to Bike Windsor Essex, about 400 cyclists a day rode through Windsor's riverfront trail during the month of October.

Bike Windsor Essex laid down a 'counting cable' along the riverfront trail

Bike Windsor Essex laid down a rubber tube during the entirety of October, counting the number of cyclists who rode through the riverfront trail. (Bike Windsor-Essex/Face)

Laying down a piece of a cable on the road and seeing how many cars ride over it is a common way of measuring traffic flow, but it's not as common for counting cyclists.

But that was the objective for Bike Windsor Essex.

In October, the advocacy group laid down a small rubber tube on Windsor's riverfront, and the number of cyclists who rode over it was tallied.

It's calibrated so only cyclists are considered in the tally — not cars or pedestrians.

"We had some people saying they ran across it all the time, but that would not have counted," said Lori Newton, executive director for Bike Windsor Essex.

"It's really got to do with the length of the wheel. It wouldn't even count a child's bicycle because it's looking for the length of wheel, not anything else."

Lori Newton, executive director for Bike Windsor Essex, says the city doesn't record cycling data like this anywhere, unlike Essex County which has installed several counters. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

The tally was done once before in 2016 and counted about 44,000 cyclists riding through Windsor's riverfront — more than 1,000 per day. That study was done in August and September of that year.

This year, however, the measurement device was in place for the month of October. Newton said she would've loved to replicate the same time frame as the 2016 study, but the tube's installation was delayed by legal matters.

"We received the counter in July, and then just trying to get through the city, it took that long for us to get it installed. So we were disappointed. We wanted to replicate that last August-September count," she said, adding there were "concerns about insurance" regarding the tube on the trail.

2018 results

Newton said this year's study counted about 400 cyclists a day riding over the measurement device, adding there were spikes in the morning and in the afternoon — which suggests "commuter cycling" is taking place.

"In Windsor, there's a focus from the city administration and council on the recreational cyclists. So part of our goal, knowing that people do commute down that route particular to the university, that we would count those," said Newton.

She said the count is an understatement of the number of riders who bike through downtown Windsor, especially during the summer months.

"A lot of commuters will avoid that trail. They'll take Wyandotte Street [or] University Avenue instead because ... you're competing with children, people walking, scooters, all kinds of recreational vehicles," said Newton.

Newton said she hopes the data encourages non-cyclists to engage in more eco-friendly forms of transportation and helps the city make informed decisions about where to install bike paths around Windsor.

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