During the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. earlier in the week, Google announced that its Maps service now offers bike information in 150 areas.
The new feature is available for more than 150 cities and metropolitan areas across the United States. Specifically, Google lists both bike lanes and bike routes in the select cities, with expansion to other cities to occur in the future.
The bike travel times listed in Google Maps are still on the conservative side, and avid cyclists – and people in good shape – will likely find they are able to outpace the estimated time.
Even though many cyclists and bike commuters haven’t tried the service, they’re happy Google Maps has finally included bike routes. The routes offered may be ideal for those in a new area that they don’t know well, as the routes given for several rides in my area added a bit too much extra riding into the routes to make them feasible for everyday commuting.
The company has a very friendly look towards bike commuters at its Mountain View campus, and Google Maps with bike routes isn’t a big surprise.
As an avid cyclist and bike commuter, I hope the new Google Maps feature will help generate new interest in using two wheels as an alternative mode of transportation to cars. For anyone who is using the new bike feature, Wired is asking for help. They want users to map out a route, ride it, take photos and then send in the pictures along with a mini write-up.
At the very least, I recommend that all cyclists map out a route and go see how well the service works. I just searched for a route in my neighborhood that doesn’t look like the most direct route – but I will ride it later this week.