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Citi Bikes to Get ‘Laserlights’

Citi Bike with laser light attached.Citi Bike with laser light attached.
Citi Bike with laser light attached.Via Citi Bike

Citi Bike is getting a safety upgrade.

New York City’s bicycle sharing program plans to install blue projection lights on 250 bikes as part of a pilot program this winter, its operators said in a Tuesday blog post on Yahoo’s (YHOO) Tumblr. The devices cast an illuminated teal silhouette of a bicycle 20 feet ahead of riders in order to make their presence known to traffic and pedestrians.

The aim? To improve safety for cyclists as they pedal through the streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Jersey City—and to settle the nerves of prospective bike riders.

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Motivate, the company behind Citi Bike as well as similar bike sharing programs in cities across the U.S., Canada, and Australia, is partnering on the trial with a firm called Blaze, which makes the LED “laserlights.”

“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,” said Jay Walder, Motivate’s CEO. Walder also affirmed his organization’s commitment to the city’s Vision Zero goals, a transportation safety project that aims to eliminate traffic fatalities.

Emily Brooke, cofounder and CEO of Blaze, said that the team had spent more than a year developing the lights.

Here’s a video of the gadget in action.

Already deployed on a fleet of bicycles in London, Blaze’s lights have shown positive results abroad. A 2014 study out of the Transport Research Lab, a non-profit consultancy in the UK, found that the lights made cyclists significantly more visible to drivers than standard LEDs in controlled scenarios.

Time will tell if the findings hold up on the mean streets New York.