Google Maps Adds Directions for Bicyclists

New feature takes hills, bike paths, busy streets into account

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 10, 2010 11:56 AM CST

(Newser) – An eagerly awaited new Google Maps feature plots out directions optimized for bicycle travel. The option doesn’t work for all locations, Wired notes—it covers 150 cities—and for some trips the bike route is identical to the car route. But it does offer alternatives, including steering riders toward bike lanes and bike paths, the company says, “as long as it won't take you totally out of your way.”

Google describes the option on its Lat Long Blog. When a user requests a bicycle route, the application doesn’t just ape the driving directions but takes into account hills—which it tries to avoid—as well as busy intersections and fast-moving traffic. The service is still in beta, and Google is soliciting feedback.

An example of a Google Maps bike route not taking you _totally_ out of your way.   (Google)
A Google workers rides her company bike in front of Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.   (AP Photo)
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