Do you often look at the ground while you’re walking? Who doesn’t! Soon, if you see a passing projected image shaped like a bicyclist on the streets of New York, don’t be alarmed: that’s just a new Citi Bike outfitted with laserlights to give cars and pedestrians an oncoming traffic warning.
Citi Bike, New York’s bike-sharing system, will be installing these safety lights on its entire fleet of 6,000 bikes by the end of the year, reports The New York Post. The lights are located at the front of the bike and project a shape of a bicyclist 20 feet ahead of the rider. This effectively creates an individual mini bike lane and hopefully gives riders more space to navigate in traffic.
The safety lasers, created by United Kingdom-based company Blaze, were first implemented in London’s own bike-sharing program, Santander Bikes (or “Boris Bikes,” to some locals.) Studies claimed that the lights made riders up to 30 percent more visible to surrounding vehicles.
"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, president and CEO of Motivate, Citi Bike's parent company.
If the lights are effective in London’s congested traffic, we’re curious to see how well they’ll improve things for bicyclists and pedestrians in New York City. For what it’s worth, at least they won’t be as annoying as the constant bell rings — as long as people don’t try to break and steal the lights out from the bikes.