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Hi-tech, grant-funded machine disabled

It’s a British cycling first, but not one that we can be proud of. Vandals have attacked and disabled a Danish-made machine which counts cyclists in real time in Brighton.

The £25,000 cycle counter located at Surrenden Park on Brighton’s London Road is one of two installed in the town last year using European Union and Cycling England cash, reports the Argus.

The machines update the number of cyclists passing them in real time, with the figure for the day and the year-to-date total being visible to all on the manufacturer’s website. But while the counter located at Mouselcoomb continues to rack up rider numbers, the Surrenden Park machine’s readout is frozen in time at 23.01 on June 25, presumably the moment it was attacked.

The counters made by Olsen Engineering of Roskilde are installed across northern Europe from Dublin to Tampere in Finland by way of the Low Countries, their native Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

It seems, however, that our near neighbours are somehow able to resist the temptation to render them inoperative through physical attacks. Road.cc understands that this incident is the first in which one of the counters has been damaged to this extent through vandalism.

A spokesman for the council told us that data from the counters is used to help the organisation make decisions about where best to allocate funding to improve cycle facilities and to monitor how effective improvements have been. He added that the number of people cycling in Brighton & Hove has increased by 27% since 2004.

As for the task of repairing the counter, an engineer from the council's Highways department is due to carry out an inspection today to see if the machine can be fixed by the council itself. The repair costs will be borne by either the council alone or using money from the EU and Department for Transport 

UPDATE:Brighton and Hove Council tell us that they have now repaired the counter and that it is fully functional once more.