This was Ohrn Images  at the beginning of January:


 January 2, 2015

36 comments followed, with a heated discussion on the purposes of the bike counter.

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Here’s one reason why the counter was a good idea:

February 1, 2015.

We measure what matters.

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Ohrn:

Took a slightly drippy but very refreshing ride to Burrard and Cornwall this morning, arriving at around 09:15, and hanging around for about 10 minutes.

The total bike count for January is 62,827, which is ~16% higher than January 2014, and 79.5% higher than January 2013.

The arithmetic goes like this:

Current yearly count:          62942

Current count for Feb 1          115
January total                         62827

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Then, what we measure starts to matter more.

The meme that ‘people don’t cycle in Vancouver for six months because of the weather’ –  we know now that it’s not true.

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Ohrn provides a follow-up:

Yep, it’s growing.
 
Photo taken January 6, 2014 at  roughly 1:37 pm.
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The previous post about the counter – Grow, Baby, Grow – generated a thread with arguments, beginning with Karin, on the appropriateness of the city using taxpayer dollars to fund it.

The only discernible purpose of this counter is political, to convince voters that the policies of Vision Vancouver are good for us. As such, this is a piece of political advertising, and it should be paid for by Vision Vancouver.

Odd, I never saw it that way at all – though I now better understand the viewpoint of those who do.

My view?  I definitely thought the point of putting up these counters is to convince people that cycling was good for them.  Because it is.

Ohrn again: “Gretchen Reynolds writes in the New York Times about an English study into the effects on aging of an active life. While there are many ways to become active, being sedentary is all too common and easy, and is increasingly seen as not a good idea.  In fact, some observers call inactivity “the new smoking”. In this study, a large number of measurements on geezers like me who ride bikes are compared to norms for sedentary geezers.  The results are startling.”

… the scientists recruited 85 men and 41 women aged between 55 and 79 who bicycle regularly. The volunteers were all serious recreational riders but not competitive athlete…  The scientists then ran each volunteer through a large array of physical and cognitive tests. …

The researchers compared the results of cyclists in the study against each other and also against standard benchmarks of supposedly normal aging. …

As it turned out, the cyclists did not show their age. On almost all measures, their physical functioning remained fairly stable across the decades and was much closer to that of young adults than of people their age. As a group, even the oldest cyclists had younger people’s levels of balance, reflexes, metabolic health and memory ability. …

All in all, the numbers suggest that aging is simply different in the active.

If the counter – and the infrastructure – encourages more people to cycle, then isn’t it justified as an investment in quality of life and a way to reduce health-care costs? And if that’s not something worth spending taxpayers’ dollars on, then why do we fund public health programs at all?

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