A bright idea is coming to New York City streets as Citi Bike launches a pilot of the Blaze Laserlight on 250 of its bikes. Glowing green symbols of bicycles projected onto the pavement from Laserlights (above) are hard to miss, and that’s the point. The trial program’s aim is to heighten the visibility of Citi Bike riders to drivers and pedestrians, improving safety on the road, making riders feel more comfortable in traffic and potentially attracting more people to bike share.
“Extensive research on the Laserlight on London’s bike share fleet revealed that a cyclist with a Laserlight at night is even more visible than a cyclist in daytime. The vast majority of London bus drivers surveyed said the light made it easier to notice and react to cyclists at night, while 75 percent of cyclists felt more confident cycling with a Laserlight.”
One hope is that the addition will help encourage increased ridership among women, for whom safety issues can be a barrier to cycling in traffic. Studies have shown repeatedly that women are more likely to ride in environments with features like protected bike lanes and one-way streets. “Results in London indicated that this outcome is likely,” said the statement.
The high-tech Laserlight uses a laser to project a pictogram of a bicycle onto the pavement about 19 feet in front of the bike to help alert pedestrians and motorists of a cyclist’s presence. Visible from all angles, the light essentially enlarges the rider’s footprint on the road. The feature is designed to help an approaching cyclist be seen, notably in a vehicle’s blind spot.
Santander Cycles in London is installing Laserlights on its current fleet of 11,500 bikes following trials during which the technology and effects of the lights were studied exensively.
“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,” said Jay Walder, president and CEO of Motivate, operators of the Citi Bike program.”
Blaze, which is based in London and focused on innovative safety technology for the growing number of people who choose bicycling for urban transportation, makes Laserlights to mount on personal bicycles and configures built-in Laserlight systems with a variety of capabilities for bike share programs. The company worked for over a year with Motivate on the light that Citi Bike is piloting, according to Emily Brooke, founder and CEO of Blaze.
Readers: Have you spotted one yet?
Photo: Citi Bike via twitter