How does the Hi Viz work?

Q: How does it work?

A: The Hi Viz has a long rubber tube that senses pressure changes as a bicycle (or other object) rolls over the tube. This pneumatic tube counter is the same technology used by traffic engineers to conduct traffic counts for major road projects.

Q: Can the Hi Viz differentiate between bikes and people?

A: Yes! Every bike makes two bumps, while people usually make one bump.  The counting mechanism times out after 175 ms when a second bump is not registered.

Q: Can the Hi Viz differentiate between bikes and cars?

A: Yes! The graphic below shows the average time between bumps for a bike, car, and truck. As you can see, the average time between bumps for a car and truck are out of the range of the time-out mechanism. Smart!


First Road Test: Report Back

Here’s a report back from the Hi Viz’s first road test —

1 PM Technical issues: The Hi Viz didn’t light up when we first set up on Canal Street. It turns out that the battery was busted and could only very dimly power the screen. But counts were still registering, and we counted 150 bikes in less than two hours!


3 PM The Hi Viz back at the Lab for surgery. Ted from Tomorrow Lab cracked open the Hi Viz and patched in a new battery. We also talked about possible safety improvements, like rubber bumpers for its sharp corners and edges.


6 PM The team set up again near Tomorrow Lab HQ for a second run before sundown. We even counted a few skateboarders!


7 PM This time the counts were, in fact, Highly Visible. Here’s one of Frank’s flybys on a Citibike rented from down the block.


After deciding to move off the bridge, a faulty battery, and some other anomalies, we got a couple of good tests in and documentation on what was a lovely spring day.

Up next: minor hardware fixes, better messaging, and a video. Stay tuned.

[updated] We’re test-driving the Hi-Viz!

Testing the counter on a NYC DOT bridge is complicated, so we’re not going to do it. 

Check back soon for details of testing the counter.

As you saw last time, the Hi-Viz is ready to go! We’re setting up at the Williamsburg Bridge bike/ped path on Saturday, March 22 from 12 PM to 4 PM.

We’ll use the time to film a video, take lots of pictures, and tweet copiously at #bikestoday. And the more the merrier. With enough people, we may even spend some time at the Manhattan Bridge.

RSVP here if you plan to stop by

If you’re supporting us from afar, follow #bikestoday on Facebook and Twitter on March 22.



Borrow the Hi-Viz for your own bike counting

Do you want to use the Hi-Viz to count bicycle traffic along a public bike way, at a bicycle-related event, or another activity? If so, we would love to hear from you! 

The Hi-Viz Public Bike Counter is available for any community group to borrow. We’ve set up a check-out calendar for the counter and are prepping a training and FAQs.

Email us to schedule a check-out of the device:

Meet the Hi-Viz Public Bike Counter - now on

(…and now we have specs and a WayCount site. Thanks Tomorrow Lab!)

The Hi-Viz Bike Counter is a jumbo-sized version of the WayCount device, designed to count and clearly display the quantity of bicyclists measured along a bike way. While some cities around the world have installed permanent bicycle counting systems, Hi-Viz offers a temporary and portable solution with the same functions.

The counts from Hi-Viz are designed to be social and sharable. Use Twitter hashtag #bikestoday to share and search for photos of the Hi-Viz in use.


  • Battery powered. Offers 1 week of use between charges
  • 6” tall LED numbers can be seen up to 100 feet away
  • Visible in daylight and at night
  • Sturdy aluminum frame weighs 30 lbs
  • Collapsible and portable
  • Use with or without tripod
  • Records data just like the WayCount - upload your data to