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Bicyclists to be Tallied in 14 SD County Cities

County planners, engineers, and cycling advocates want to get a count of bicyclists and pedestrians in mostly urban areas so they can develop new facilities for riding.

Devices that tally the number of bicyclists on streets and along bike paths have been installed in 14 cities in San Diego County, with plans for more in the works, county officials announced today.

Planners, engineers and cycling advocates were looking for accurate counts of bicyclists, and pedestrians in some areas, so they could develop new facilities like bike lanes and paths. The counts could lead to a more balanced and healthy transportation system that supports active living, county officials said.

"Bicycling and walking are easy ways to increase daily physical activity to stay healthy and reduce the chances of getting a chronic disease," said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the county's Child Health Medical Officer. "Collecting this information helps promote bicycle riding and increases choices for everyone to include biking and walking in their routines."

Through the "Bikes Count" project, counters had been installed in 28 locations in mostly urban areas. County officials planned to install additional counters.

"This project moves us closer to integrating cycling into mainstream planning, and transforming San Diego County into a cycling region," SDSU Professor Sherry Ryan said.

The project is funded by "Healthy Works," which began in 2010 with a county-administered grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that focused on preventing obesity.

According to the county, Bikes Count is the largest regional bicycle- counting project in the country. The county's Health and Human Services agency sponsored it, along with San Diego State University and the San Diego Association of Governments.

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