PORTLAND -- A special new device is counting every bicyclist who pedals over Portland's Hawthorne Bridge.
It's the first bicycle counter ever in the entire U.S. and began operating in Portland Wednesday.
Some bicyclists who noticed it along their route said they were excited to see it, because it helps show how important bike commuting is, in the Rose City.
The counter had tallied about 2,300 cyclists Wednesday morning. Since the Hawthorne Bridge is one of the busiest in Portland, it didn't take long for the numbers to add up. By 3 p.m., the tally was up to 7,000.
Cycle Oregon donated the $20,000 device.
“This is not about a spandex revolution. This is not about getting more people in tight pants," said Jonathan Nicholas, President of Cycle Oregon. "This is about getting more paychecks for men and women in Portland. We all know health care cost is spiraling out of control and inhibiting job creation, one of the best things we can do is to make it easier for people is to walk around and cycle around our city.”
Rob Mattson rode out from Vancouver just to see the one-of-a-kind tool.
“I think it’s a pretty cool device they brought. I’m a teacher and use data quite a bit, so it’s really important for the city to prove to people just how many people are out here biking every day,” Mattson said.
The accurate real-time data will help the city plan for future bicycle facilities.
"This bike counter is going to give us exactly that data. This is going to give us the right kind of investments going forward,” Nicholas said.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation will monitor the numbers periodically. They can also be followed on a special website linked to the device.