A new bicycle counter has recently been installed by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) on the Rock Road in Booterstown. This morning I was the 206th cyclist to pass by this gadget (and the 5,650th this year!). So I naturally I stopped to take a photo and ponder the value of this gadget to me, to DLRCC, and to Society as a whole.
The country is nearly broke, but yet there's money for cycle counters? What do the rate payers, and the soon to be household-charge payers of Dún Laoghaire, think of this use of their money? Would this money not be better spent on something more urgent (eg - everything else in the Council's budget)? DLRCC's website states that the council seeks to:
"cultivate a cycling culture, through the implementation of appropriate infrastructure and promotional measures, that positively encourages all members of the community to cycle at all life stages and abilities as a mode of sustainable transport that delivers environmental, health and economic benefits to both the individual and the community"
So that's what it's for! There's another one outside UCD - perhaps a competition between the Stillorgan Road and the Rock Rock will promote cycling even further. But this could lead to cheating - I bet those folks up in Stillorgan would cycle around the counter a few times to get the numbers up!
Seriously - while this might in some way promote cycling, I think the money could be better spent elsewhere. For example, just past this counter the lead up to the Merrion gates is very dangerous for cyclists who want to turn right (as I do) over the railway. Perhaps a painted cycle track would be useful? This morning, despite me signalling with an out-stretched arm in plenty of time to turn right, a woman in a big BMW refused to let me cross to the right lane and kept on driving. The inevitable happened as seconds later I passed her out (resisting the temptation to give a 2-fingered salute) as she had to queue for the Gates while I cycled up to the top of the traffic.
The most valuable information to me from this gadget is that it was a balmy 14C and 8.45am - meaning that it was warm and that I was running late for work!