Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Second Periodic Nationwide Ninja Count

The guys at are organising a nationwide bike-lamp count tonight from 7-7:20. They're seeking volunteers to stake out positions on local bike routes during this time window and count all passing cyclists and the extent to which each one complies with traffic code requirements on lighting.

This is the second time such a count has been done; the first was conducted last March. In that one, volunteers took counts at 85 sites, 48 in Budapest and the rest in 21 smaller towns and cities. In total, 2,461 cyclists were counted. The overall result was that 57 percent were in perfect compliance with the rules, having functional front and rear lamps; a further 20 percent had one good lamp (either front or rear); and 23 had no lamp at all ("bike ninjas" in the bike-world parlance).

As Critical Mass organiser Gábor Kürti noted in his post about these results, one of the main causes of accidents involving cyclists is that the cyclists simply aren't noticed. Few would argue that having lamps can help alleviate the problem -- at least at night time.

The 23 percent of cyclists riding around as ninjas is far too high, in Kürti's opinion, and he hopes these regular counts, once or twice per year, will help raise awareness of the problem and track its evolution.

If you'd like to take part in the count, it's quite simple. The directions, in Hungarian, are given here:

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