NORTH PARK, Calif. — The intersection of 30th St. and University Ave. in North Park is always busy.
In 2021, the city of San Diego created protected bike lanes to help avid bikers like Kyle Heiskala get around.
"I ride my bike at least four to five times a week, and I use my bike to commute to work," said Heiskala.
Heiskala, the Board President of Bike SD, said more than 16 people died last year while biking on San Diego streets.
He said the bike lane is a game-changer for rider's safety.
"It shouldn't be a life or death decision whether or not to choose to get around the city without a car," said Heiskala.
To help track the usage of the bike lane, the city installed a bike counter along 30th St, which is considered a popular bike route.
"[The] black diamonds cut into the pavement... as you see someone ride over that, that's when you'll see the count occur," said Everett Hauser, Program Manager of the Transportation Department.
Hauser said the tracker uses an algorithm to count bikes and scooters riding in the bike lane or on the street.
The device was installed on Jan. 22. As of Friday afternoon, it's logged nearly 2,000 trips.
"As we grow our protected network more and more people are encouraged to ride for whatever trips they need to use, and counters like this help us document that," Hauser said.
However, there's been criticism from some in the community who disapprove of the city removing parking spots to create the bike lanes.
"We did introduce some [parking spots] back, and we also made side street conversions. Overall, it's always a working progress around the city to increase parking," Hauser said.
The city installed another bike counter along Pacific Highway last November.