A Broughty Ferry councillor has said a state-of-the-art cycle counter installed in Dundee is inaccurate – after it recorded him and two dogs as bicycles.
Liberal Democrat councillor Craig Duncan said the Douglas Terrace device, which counts bikes each time they pass over a sensor on the path, was wrongly registering pedestrians and pushchairs.
He said it would be misleading for the authorities to use the counter to prove how popular cycling is becoming.
Mr Duncan said he had previously been told by Dundee City Council that a “glitch” was causing it to count pushchairs as cycles.
But it has now emerged the counter will register anyone who walks over its sensor – whether on legs or wheels – as a bike.
Mr Duncan said he walked past the counter with two dogs and all three of them were counted as cyclists.
He said:” The dogs and I walked past it again – and we were again recorded as three cyclists.
“Honestly, the dogs were not cycling.
“The counter is therefore completely unreliable.”
Last year Dundee City Council said more than 50,000 cyclists had passed the counter since it was switched on in June.
However, Mr Duncan said the council should be wary of trumpeting these figures.
He said: “I have now reported this matter to the council three times this year commencing on New Year’s Day.
“Despite having received assurances that the matter was being investigated and that no reliance would be placed upon these demonstrably unreliable figures, I was extremely annoyed to see the council itself issue a news release last week that made favourable mention of the totals recorded by this easily manipulated and unreliable device.
“I offered to meet with officers to demonstrate how easily this device can be corrupted merely by walking over the sensor strips.
“There are independent witnesses who say they have witnessed children performing ‘star jumps’ on the strips to see who could get the ‘counter to record most’.
“It strikes me as obvious that this device should have been disconnected until the council ensures it is repaired and has provided evidence that it actually works properly.”
Dundee City Council referred to the high number of cyclists said to have passed the counter in a press release about the re-opening of the cycle path through the Port of Dundee last week.
Councillor Kevin Cordell, Dundee City Council’s cycling spokesman, said: “There are a lot of exciting initiatives on the go at the moment, such as the recently opened facility at Dundee Railway Station, which will allow the safe storage of 120 bikes protected by CCTV and the newly re-furbished cycle path through the docks, which opened last week to great acclaim.
“There is a real sense of excitement building in the city around cycling, which was encapsulated by the Cycling Scotland conference 2018 being hosted by Dundee for the first time.
“It is estimated the conference brought in over £125,000 to the city’s economy over the two days.
“It is a bit disappointing that there are those casting doubts on the level of cycling along that route.
“You only have to visit the area to see how well used it is by cyclists and we don’t need a counter to see that.”