New York City’s Citi Bike program piloting Blaze Laserlight safety system


As part of an ongoing commitment to safer cycling in New York City through improved visibility, the Citi Bike program is installing an innovative new safety feature, the Blaze Laserlight, on 250 bikes this winter.

The pilot program aims to make Citi Bike riders more visible to drivers and pedestrians, while creating safer conditions on the road. Citi Bike is an extremely safe component of the New York City’s transportation network, with few serious injuries and no deaths in the nearly 37 million trips completed since the system’s installation in 2013. Nonetheless, the hectic nature of the city’s streets can be a barrier to entry for potential bike share riders.

The UK-developed Blaze Laserlight combines a front 300 lumen LED light with a laser that projects a highly-visible green bike symbol 20ft (6m) onto the road ahead. It gives cyclists a larger footprint on the road, alerts drivers to their approach, and lets them be seen in situations where they are otherwise invisible.

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 study was conducted by the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in 2014 as part of the due diligence by Transport for London (TfL) and Serco into the effectiveness of the Laserlight prior to incorporating the technology into the Santander Cycles Bike Hire Scheme. The vast majority of London bus drivers surveyed said the light made it easier to notice and react to cyclists at night, while 75% of cyclists felt more confident cycling with a Laserlight.

The TRL study showed that Lazerlight:

• Significantly reduced the blind-spot areas around vehicles;

• Provided superior visibility over existing LED front cycle lights and those on hire scheme bikes;

• Maximum visibility at night to bus drivers improved from 72.4% with the existing LED lights to 96.2%;

• Improvements for other vehicles was 65% to 97% for a van, 78% to 83% for a tipper lorry, and 56% to 66% for a car;

• It was very visible to a human observer across a range of surfaces.

“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. “Bike share is an extremely safe way to get around, and we are proud to work with Blaze to welcome every rider to Citi Bike, while helping our city get ever closer to our Vision Zero goals.”

Emily Brooke, founder and CEO of Blaze, commented, “We are delighted that Citi Bike will pilot the Laserlight this winter. We have been working with Motivate for over a year to develop a brand new product that brings our innovative projection technology to New York’s streets.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).