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Cyclist counter - How-To Series in FLOW Insights

Learn how to create a cyclist counter to justify building a cyclist path or encourage more cycling.

DataFromSky avatar
Written by DataFromSky
Updated over a week ago

Counting cyclists can be useful for multiple reasons. One of them is when you want to build a cyclist path. Before you build it, you might want to see how many cyclists are using the road in the given direction to see if this would be a good decision. Another example is to have a visual counter that shows the cumulative number of cyclists that use the path which encourages biking instead of using cars, scooters, etc.. which does not only improve traffic in the city but is also good for the environment and the people´s health. Read this step-by-step guide and learn how easy it is to set up a cyclist counter to reduce traffic in your city.

If you are new to FLOW - read this article or watch our webinar to get familiar with the basics. Links to more FLOW specific guides can be found below.

What will you learn from this article?

  1. How to set up a live cyclist counter

  2. How the data can be used

  3. What are the benefits of using the real-time FLOW Insights video-analytics

If you do not have FLOW Insights yet - download it here for free!


First, we drag and drop a category filter to the canvas. We double click it to open its menu and we tick boxes to select the bicycle category as shown in the picture below. We do this because we want to detect only cyclists. When detecting cyclists it is important to have the right camera angle to be able to detect the bike from the side rather than from the front. Also, good detail of the scene is needed to have accurate detection.

Second, we create a gate. The gate detects objects that cross this gate in any direction. We will later specify in the canvas section from which direction we want to detect the crossings. We always try to draw a slightly longer gate to account for the cyclists slightly bypassing the road. We name the gate “cyclist counting gate”.

After the gate is created we drag it over to the canvas on the right side twice (to create two instances of it) and connect both of them to the category filter. We open each of the gates and set their directions. For one gate we select “positive direction” and name it “cyclist count - south” and for the other one we choose “negative direction” and name it “cyclist count - north”. (More info on creating gates here - link to Intercom article)

If we would like to add these two directions together (cyclists from south and north), we can connect them with the union operator. This means dragging the union operator into the canvas and connecting it to the bottom of both of the gate elements. We name this operator “total number of cyclists on the path”. We can connect even multiple gates in this way.


To finish, we add the value Widgets to the gates and the union operator and name them “cyclist counter south”, “cyclist counter north” and “total number of cyclists on the path”. For all the widgets we select time block under time mode and set it to one day as shown in the picture below. We do this in order to get data only for the current day as this is the format most cyclist counters use. We can choose different colors for different values if we would like to do so at the bottom of the value widget menu.

To have a nice overview of the situation we can add a trajectory view widget to the category filter. This will show us all the cyclist trajectories on the dashboard. To have even more insights we might add a statistical value widget to the union operator and select Speed under the Operator attribute. With this widget, we can see the relative speeds including maximum, minimum, and average speeds.

For proper visualization of the speed in kilometers per hour, the footage needs to be geo-registered. If you need help with the georegistration, contact us and we will be happy to help you. In order to be able to visualize this data on a cyclist counter panel, we would also need to add data sinks to the values we would want to show. See the link to this data sinks article and learn how to do it.


You have learned how to create a cyclist counter with a single gate, how to add data from multiple gates with the Union operator, how to view additional information using widgets and a dashboard, and how to export data from FLOW. This allows you to use the counter for measuring traffic and visualize this data on a dashboard next to the bicycle path. Doing this can motivate the people to cycle more to contribute to the daily, monthly, yearly, or all-time statistics. Despite being just a simple cyclist counter you can calculate and visualize CO2 saved on an average single-person car commute. It can make people even more motivated to choose a bicycle over a car. Cycling is beneficial in many ways and therefore it is important to enable and motivate people to cycle more. We hope that you have enjoyed this guide. To browse more articles about FLOW click here.

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