Get the latest updates, videos, resources and more.

Thank you so much for signing up to volunteer with Pedal Poll 2022. This count is not possible without you. On this page, you will find the latest updates, announcements, and resources to help you before and during the count.

Women biking
Get ready for the count

Download the count instructions

training webinar

Full 2021 Webinar Video

Here is the Pedal Poll Training video. Please take the time to watch this video before your count day.
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individual webinar sections

Want to review a specific section of the webinar?

Click on the part you would like to view from the 3 sections below.

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1: Background and Expected Results

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2: Development of bike counting tools

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3: Protocol for counting bikes

Download the paper count tool

If you don’t have an available phone with data services, or want to simply count using regular pen and paper, here’s an alternative tool that you can print and take with you to count. Click the button below to download it. 

Resources

View the Counterpoint User Manual

Wondering how to install CounterPoint? How to create an account and start counting? Download the CounterPoint User Manual to get ready for the big count!

FAQS AND THEIR ANSWER

The answers to your most asked questions

To help you understand the approach we are taking, we have compiled a list of answers to some frequently asked questions about the count. You can click on the questions to reveal the answers.

The app is called Counterpoint – prove it and is available on the App Store or Google Play. You can also download it from the CounterPoint website

To find the count screen, follow these steps:

      1. Open the app,
      2. Select a counterpoint (the green marker on the map) or create a new one, 
      3. Select the green ‘Count Here’ button,
      4. Choose the ‘Count Traffic’ method,
      5. Finally, select the ‘Cycling Demographics’ count form.

If you don’t see the ‘Cycling Demographics’ count form, please ensure the application is version (3.5.0) or further.

We have identified 29 Focus Communities where we are working with local organizers to be more systematic in their counting. We have worked with these local ambassadors to choose locations for counting in their communities. In 2021 we had 14 Focus Communities and hope to grow Pedal Poll each year. Other cities and communities can still participate, but they may not have the same level of support. 

If you don’t live in one of our 29 Focus Communities, you can choose your own location for the Pedal Poll. There are a few criteria to consider when you think of where you want to count. For screen line traffic counts, the sites are always established at mid-block locations (the segment between two intersecting roads or paths), not at intersections. The goal is to choose locations that are important to the local community. 

Choose sites:

    • Where counts have been done before and/or automated counters are located 
    • That represent different travel purposes (primarily commuter, primarily recreational, or mixed)  
    • Located along high, medium and lower volume routes (not no volume sites) 
    • In higher and lower income and/or racialized neighbourhoods
    • Reflecting different types of cycling infrastructure
    • Along “open streets” (e.g., slow streets, pop up bike lanes) *NOTE: sites should be operational during weekdays and weekends.

These are the same guidelines that we have used to choose count locations in all our Focus Communities. That helps us to collect comparable and consistent data. 

Counts will  take place from June 7-12, 2022. In Focus Communities, we aim to collect 8 hours’ worth of data on a fair-weather weekday (ideally June 7th) and for 2 hours on Saturday or Sunday (June 11 & 12). We are only asking for a single two-hour shift from each volunteer. In other cities/communities, please aim to collect data in one of the following time slots: 

    • Weekday morning: 7-9am 
    • Weekday lunch: 11-1pm 
    • Weekday mid afternoon: 2-4pm 
    • Weekday late afternoon: 4-6pm 

Weekend afternoon: 12-2pm (Saturday, or count on Sunday as an alternate)

Yes, please count people on e-bikes. We are counting riders rather than bikes so the type of bike is not a variable we can count this year. Do not count people riding vespa-style scooters or mopeds.

Yes, we are counting riders rather than bikes. This means if there are two or more people on a single bike, you should count each person, e.g., parent with child in a bike seat or in a trailer.

Yes, if you are alone, you should always count cycle traffic approaching the screen line from both directions. If the site is busy, you may need to select ‘other/unsure’ for some cyclists to keep up with the high volumes.

In pilot cities, you may be paired with another observer at very busy sites and times; in which case, you will count cyclist traffic from one direction only. Special CounterPoints labelled with the site name and direction of travel will be created for this purpose (e.g., Seaside- Northbound and Seaside- Southbound).

Observers should count all the cyclists that cross the screen line. If a large group of cyclists approaches, we recommend that you select ‘other/unsure’ when responding to the demographic categories to speed up data entry. While you will be omitting demographic information, you will still be counting the cyclists. Resume recording demographic characteristics as soon as you’re able.

In Focus Communities at busier times and locations, two counters will be assigned at a single site, so each person observes traffic from one direction only. Special counterpoints labelled with the direction of cyclist travel to observe will be created for this purpose.

Yes, count every person on a bike that passes the imaginary line straight in front of you. Standing on one side of the road or path, count cyclists on the sidewalk, multi-use path, roadway travel lane, painted bike lane, cycle track, etc. Ignore those in the distant background.

Count every cyclist that crosses the screen line, even if you recognize them as ‘previously counted’. Just like with an automated counter, every cyclist crossing the screen line is counted.

On hills where cyclists typically dismount for the climb, screen lines should be sited nearer the base or crest of the hill to avoid missing cyclists. Cyclists dismount for many reasons, and may walk their bike for extended periods – we cannot know the reason or length of time of the dismount. In their dismounted state, the person is a pedestrian and does not meet the criterion of ‘cyclist’, that is, a person astride a pedal cycle.

Not this year, but that is a good suggestion for a variable to add in subsequent counts!

For screen line traffic counts, the sites are always established at mid-block locations (the segment between two intersecting roads or paths), not at intersections. Traffic will always move in one or two directions across a screen line.

For guidance on selecting sites, please refer to an earlier FAQ titled: My city isn’t listed as a Focus Community.  How do I select a good place to count?

Counting cyclists using CounterPoint requires a mobile device with cellular data. The app will not load and you won’t be able to save your count data without an active internet connection. We recognise that not everyone has access to or need for a mobile device with cellular data. We developed a paper-based counting form that can be downloaded from the Pedal Poll website. Once you complete a shift using a paper-based form, please take a photo or scan each page of the form (including the cover page) and email it to [email protected]. All paper form count data will be manually entered by the Pedal Poll team.

No. We recommend that if you use the paper count form method, please take a photo or scan all pages of the form (including the cover page) and email it to [email protected] and we will do the rest. Transferring your count data from paper count forms to the CounterPoint app will present significant issues as the system will date and timestamp your data at the time of data entry, which may be hours or days after the count was actually conducted. At that point, we will have no way to know the correct day or time of your count nor a way to fix the erroneous timestamp.

You can get forms printed at Staples, your local library, or any available printing or copying centre for a small fee (~12¢ per page for b/w). In some of the pilot cities, ambassadors will also be able to provide you with copies of the paper form.

Yes, you can count at an existing counterpoint close to your home, or you can create a new one. Choose a location where there are people cycling, such as along a designated cycling route. Remember to join the ‘Pedal Poll Canada’ team before counting so we can locate your data within the global database.

We anticipate that scheduling will happen in late May. 

It is ok to count at those locations. We are interested in finding out what is happening on COVID-related street changes, even if temporary.

That depends on the city. We are getting more people signing up by the hour so this makes it hard for us to provide a definitive answer. We also can’t share Pedal Poll registrants’ contact info, but the national coordinator  can ask people if they want to be connected with others in their community. Email [email protected] to submit a request.

Either your local Ambassador can sign for those, or Vélo Canada Bikes can vouch for your time. The app will have time and date stamps on your count, so we can verify your volunteer hours for you.

In 2021 we had 1,000 volunteers in 68 communities participating. All data will be used to compile the dataset for analysis, even if not from a Focus Community.  If a community counted more than 100 cyclists we compiled the data & tabulated the results. You can find the results of those counts on the 2021 Results page. 

Typically ‘no’, as you should arrive at your count site about 10 minutes before your scheduled start time.

No, not yet, but this will be a feature available in the future. For now, Android users will need to enter data by tapping response buttons.

We appreciate this may feel uncomfortable and ask you to give your best guess. 

The reason this is important is because we know that some communities are under-served when it comes to cycling infrastructure. We view cycling as a great tool for building equity in our community. We recognize that the data collected will be based on “perception”, and as such, have all the inherent biases and inaccuracies. We also anticipate a lot of unknown/uncertainty within the selections, in general, and with the added complications of riders who may be wearing masks because of the pandemic. But, we feel it is still important to try and get a sense of who is riding out there, and where they are riding. 

As such, we have kept age and gender to very broad categories. When it comes to perceived ethnicity, this is the most challenging. We spent a lot of time talking to researchers and other community representatives in deciding whether we can ethically do this, and how we can do it. This is the result of many months of working through all those challenging questions.

We used the Government of Ontario’s guidelines for “Participant Observer Information of Race”.  https://www.ontario.ca/document/data-standards-identification-and-monitoring-systemic-racism/standards-participant-observer-information-poi-race

We have a lot more background on the Poll and how we got to where we are on our project website https://velocanadabikes.org/pedalpoll/getinvolved/ 

This is a complex question worthy of a few considerations. 

First, although we ask that everyone be as rigorous as they feel they can be, no one person will be able to skew the data just messing their counts up. Know that when someone sets out to collect large volumes of data, like we are here, a key role for those designing the methodology – or anyone interpreting them – is knowing the limits of accuracy, and accounting for user error or input variation, especially with a crowdsourced, sensitive and subjective topic like this. 

Second, note that user error or input variation can often be predictable – that makes it possible to be further investigated separately. Part of the value of this process will be in helping us better understand to what degree of accuracy can demographic based traffic counts be conducted. That means not everything needs to be right the first time. We can still look at the data relative to other other data sets or subsequent studies, such as self-reported data in the census for example, intercept surveys, video recordings with trained experts, etc.

 

Thirdly, when dealing with perceived demographic info, there is no wrong or right answer. There are only patterns in reported data. 

Lastly, although we do not control how the data will be used in perpetuity nor are we responsible for targeting services or funding per se, all data is meant to help us all make better decisions somehow. While we certainly hope it will influence policy-making in some way, we don’t think it will be used to make the type of community-specific project decisions suggested in this question, but rather will contribute to an important narrative about racialized communities and the use of space. 

As with all observed data, we simply ask you to do the best you can, and as a volunteer, everything you do is right and we are very grateful for your help.

We would still welcome your participation! Simply choose unsure whenever you feel unsure and do your best. Accurate and detailed knowledge of ethnic makeup is not necessary or expected here and, remember, ethnicity is a fluid thing and best self reported anyway. There may be some ethnic groups you feel more comfortable identifying (some people who identify as a given ethnicity feel more capable of guessing someone’s else’s lineage if they look like them, for example). That’s OK. It is really up to you. Regardless, there is value in measuring perceived age and gender alone, since even just those two categories will tell us something about the way our streets are working for different populations

Don’t drop out! If you don’t know the gender or ethnicity of a cyclist, just choose ‘other/unsure’ for the relevant demographic category. Remember, there are no wrong answers here. Ethnicity is fluid and usually self-reported. Do your best and know that it’s the bigger picture that matters.

Count data collected through the CounterPoint app can be downloaded from the Counterpoint website. Cities typically publish their cyclist count data from automated counters (e.g., Eco-Counters) on their Open Data portal.

If you’d like to suggest counterpoint sites in your community, there are two ways you may do this: 

If you’re in a Focus Community, contact [email protected] to make the suggestion. The number of sites needs to be indexed to local volunteer capacity, so additional sites may not be possible.

Outside of  Focus Communities, you can create a new counterpoint at your discretion. Please refer to the guidance in an earlier FAQ on how to choose sites: My city isn’t listed as a pilot city. How do I select a good place to count?

We recommended count times that best capture a representative sample of cyclist traffic. For weekend days, that’s between 12:00-14:00. Instead of adding time periods, we recommend that communities with extra volunteer capacity on weekends add count sites. An alternative would be to repeat the Saturday counts on Sunday.

If you feel the count is accurate, save it! If you are just doing a test, or trying it out, skip the saving step to avoid negatively impacting the accuracy of CounterPoint’s database. There are fake test sites you can use if you just want to have a whirl saving the count form (check out Antarctica…), otherwise, simply end your count and choose the “delete” option. For the analysis, we will be pulling the data collected during the official count days and times. We will know which data to pull as all data entered using CounterPoint is team ID tagged and date and time stamped.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in Pedal Poll 2021! View results
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