Montreal officials and entrepreneurs are constantly looking for ways to make biking in the city safer and more accessible.
Sometimes, however, that admirable goal can have some pretty embarrassing results, like when the city messed up construction of a bike lane such that emergency vehicles cannot fit down the newly reduced area for cars. Now that street has to be completely redone.
Other ventures are more successful. This summer, BIXI is introducting electric-powered bikes to make long-distance commutes easier. Public electric bikes have already made their debut in Laval.
Now bixi is launching a pilot program to improve road safety for everyone.
The plan involves, of all things, lasers.
A few upgraded BIXI bikes will project a laser image of a green bike a few metres ahead of cyclists. The new feature is meant to alert cars and pedestrians to oncoming bikes at night. The laser will accompagny the light that BIXI bikes already flash during nighttime hours.
Honestly the new lasers look kind of fun. Imagine being able to project lasers ahead of you as you ride through the night.
Existing BIXI safety features already make the devices remarkably less dangerous than regular bikes. Limited gears, heavy weight, and thick tires not only give BIXIs their characteristic look, but also prevent riders from travelling too quickly.
But the new lasers are a good step toward acclimating motorists to city roads where bikes are becoming more and more common.