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NYC bike safety program allows cyclists to follow pedestrian signals

SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn — City Intersections can be some of the most dangerous places in New York.

Drivers, Pedestrians, and Bike Riders all try to get to their destination with little regard for one another.

The city is hoping to help make those intersections a little safer by giving bike riders a head start.

Bike riders and drivers share the road, but at dozens of New York City intersections, they will be operating under different rules.

Instead of waiting for the traffic light, as they're supposed to do at most intersections, bicyclists are instructed to follow pedestrian signals to help make intersections safer.

In areas dangerous for bike riders, such as streets in Sunset Park, several bicyclists think the chance would be good.

"It would probably make some difference.  Anything's good," said Noah Rose, a bicyclist.

To help reduce the number of accidents along Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park, the city is posting signs and giving bike riders a head start at almost 20 intersections that have Leading Pedestrian Intervals — 30 more intersections with signs are spread out across the city.

The lights give pedestrians a walk signal several seconds before the light for parallel traffic turns green.

That way, turning cars have a chance to see anyone in the intersection and are more likely to avoid an accident.

Councilman Carlos Menchaca pushed for similar head starts across the city back in 2016 but the legislation stalled,​

The Department of Transportation is testing the 7-month pilot program in his district.

While bikers will follow the pedestrian signals, they'll still have to yield to anyone in the cross walk.

The intersections have already proven to be helpful to pedestrians cutting deaths at intersections with LPI's in half in 2016.

Now we'll have to wait and see if it can have the same impact for cyclists.