After being vandalized last week, the brand-new Valencia Street bike counter is back to counting cyclists in the northbound bike lane on Valencia Street between 17th and 18th streets, just in time for Bike to Work Day. In the early afternoon, more than 1,500 cyclists had already passed the counter (give or take a few skateboarders, who also trigger the sensor).

The display works, it's just tricky to capture on a digital/phone camera
The display works, it’s just tricky to capture on a digital/phone camera

Transit nerds will be happy to learn that the Eco-TOTEM, as its manufacturer has dubbed this particular type of counter, is supposedly accurate to within 5 percent. That is, assuming that cyclists actually ride over the sensor – something that didn’t happen all the time over at Market Street’s bike counter last year, leading to a roughly 1,000-a-day error. Transit Agency spokesperson Paul Rose said as long as bikes are in the bike lane, where the counter loop is placed, they are counted to within the manufacturer-specified accuracy.

Then again, Eco-counter also touts the device’s “graffiti-proof” powder coating, which has proven to be a rather optimistic claim. Each counter costs $30,000 to purchase, and maintenance costs are included in the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency budget. Valencia’s counter was wrapped in black plastic for a few days prior to its debut on Thursday and following the vandalism:

All wrapped up before the big reveal…

And for all of you gearing up for your commute back home, no matter which mode of transportation you’re using, you may be interested in this refresher on how to turn right and other bike rules.

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