NEW YORK - Bike riders in the city can now get a head start on cars at red lights under a new city pilot program.

Cyclists can now ride through the walk signal at dozens of intersections in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

The head start signals, also known as Leading Pedestrian Intervals, give pedestrians an extra 7 to 11 seconds to cross the street before allowing drivers to pass through intersections or turn through crosswalks.

"We have seen how LPIs save lives, playing a significant role in New York City's historic 32 percent drop in pedestrian deaths last year. Cycling safety has also improved considerably, but there is still progress to be made," said DOT Senior Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs Sean Quinn. 

City leaders say most bicycling injuries and deaths happen at intersections.

They say they hope the head start signals will improve cyclist safety, the way they have improved safety for pedestrians.