Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

London Tests Smart Bike Lanes to Improve Rider Safety

London began testing radars and thermal equipment that detect the presence of cyclists as part of measures to improve conditions for riders.

The two different technologies are being trialled along a “cycle superhighway” in Cable Street, east London, Mayor Boris Johnson said Friday in an e-mailed statement. They detect the numbers of cyclists along a route and adjust the length of time traffic lights are green according to the volume of two-wheeled traffic.

“Once again London leads the way as we host world-first trials of technology that has the potential to bring significant benefits to cyclists,” Johnson said. “With record numbers taking to two wheels we are doing everything we can to make our roads more inviting places to be.”

London stepped up efforts to protect cyclists on the capital’s roads in November 2013 after six were killed in two weeks. Johnson, himself a regular cyclist, was criticized at the time for not doing enough to protect vulnerable road users.

Official data published on Thursday showed the number of cycling trips in London rose last year, while the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured fell to the lowest since 2006.

Transport for London, the authority conducting the tests, plans three more trials in the network of cycle superhighways to gauge the effectiveness of the technology at different types of junction. It will then decide whether to roll the equipment out more widely in the capital.

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