Biking is a green way to get around in the city, but some are concerned about the dangers of sharing the streets with cyclists.
Motivate, the entity that operates the Citi Bike program, and a company called Blaze announced Tuesday that they are tackling one corner of the safety issue by installing a new feature on 250 bikes this winter — the Blaze Laserlight.
In addition to Citi Bike’s current features, including the lights and lamps that currently make all of the program’s bikes street legal, a laser-projected image of a bike will be shown ahead of the bike to warn cars and pedestrians about the approaching bike.
“We have been working with Motivate over a year to develop a brand new product that brings our innovative projection technology to the streets of New York,” founder and Blaze CEO Emily Brooke said. “It also includes improved front lighting and connectivity, making cycling with a Citi Bike even safer and more enjoyable.”
Laserlights were used on a fleet of bikes used for ride sharing in London. Motivate said it found that a night rider is even more visible with a Laserlight than a cyclist during the day.
Bus drivers in England said it was easier to see and react to cyclists at night and 75 percent of cyclists surveyed said the safety feature made them feel more confident, according to Motivate.
“By incorporating Blaze’s lights into the bike, we aim to keep New Yorkers on foot, behind the wheel and riding a Citi Bike safer and to improve the rider experience overall so that people of all backgrounds are inspired to try New York City’s popular bike share program,” Motivate President and CEO Jay Walder said.
New York City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. (D-Bed Stuy) is a cycling enthusiast and it isn’t uncommon to see him biking from Brooklyn to City Hall. He said he is looking forward to seeing what the addition of Laserlights will bring.
Council Member Helen Rosenthal (D-Upper West Side) added, “This looks really cool.”
A spokeswoman for Motivate said the 250 bikes are part of a pilot program and it won’t cost riders more to use the bikes equipped with Laserlights. She added that women are especially excited about the new feature.
The company touts the bike share program as “extremely safe” and reports “few serious injuries and no deaths in the nearly 37 million trips” since 2013.
Metro reached out again to the spokeswoman to ask about some safety concerns that typically arise when lasers are used in public. As of writing, Metro is waiting for a reply.