Annual city bicycle count provides data support for bike infrastructure projects

Next week is the annual Fort Collins Bicycle and Pedestrian count, where volunteers will help collect the data needed to support future improvements to the bike and pedestrian infrastructure in Fort Collins.

Volunteers will collect data next Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during shifts from 7 to 9 a.m., 12 to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. There are still several volunteer shifts still available at the 16 intersections and 11 trails where the data is collected. Locations that are close to campus are the Laurel and Mason, and Lynwood/Heatheridge and Prospect intersections.

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The Bicycle and Pedestrian Count, put on by the FC Moves (Transportation Department) is part the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, which fosters a nationwide effort and methodology for counting and promoting bikes and pedestrians. Fort Collins began participating in 2012 and was rated as one of five platinum level bicycling communities in the country by Bicycle Friendly America in 2013.

Tracey Lipfert, FC Moves Bicyclist and Pedestrian Count Coordinator, said that with bicycling becoming increasingly popular in the fast-growing city, FC Moves needs the data from the counts to support bicycling infrastructure policies.

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Fort Collins volunteers will assist in the annual Bike and Pedestrian count next Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. (Ryan Arb | Collegian)

“Fort Collins has been big on bikes for a very long time,” Lipfert said. “This is part of (the Bicycle Friendly America) designation, evaluating our community’s rates of bicycling and walking. We also just want to know what our community members are doing so we can take care of them through infrastructure.”

The busiest of the 16 intersections is the intersection at Laurel and Mason, where 430 bicyclists were counted during one two-hour shift last year. A result of that data is The Laurel Street Pilot Project, which includes the protected bike lanes on Laurel and the green bike boxes on Laurel and College and Laurel and Mason. The bicycle light at Laurel and Mason is the only bicycle light in Fort Collins and is a pilot test to see if the city can use them in other parts of town.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian count also counts helmet usage and the male and female spilt of bicyclists.

Over the last four years, There has been about 60 percent helmet usage on trails and 39 percent on streets. Males accounted for 60 percent of bicyclists and females account for 40 percent.

Most of the bicycling and pedestrian traffic in Fort Collins occurs around the Colorado State University and Old Town areas, but Lipfert said the city is looking to change that.

“Certainly the core, Old Town Fort Collins, has a lot more bike traffic than the periphery but we’d like to see those numbers on the rise too,” Lipfert said. “That’s another reason why we track, we want to see where things are for our community. If people aren’t riding because there’s not good bicycling infrastructure, we definitely want to change that.”

To sign up to volunteer visit http://www.fcgov.com/bicycling/

Collegian reporter MQ Borocz can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @MQBorocz22.

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