Google Maps adds “bicycling” option to directions

A colleague pointed out to me this morning that there was a new option on his google maps “get directions” page today –

Google offers cycling directions

Sure enough it seems that this option has been available in the US for some time, but has been ported across to the UK today.
A bit of digging around suggests that they’re using Sustrans data (sustrans routes such as Liverpool’s Loop Line are marked in a dark-green on the map) – see CycleStreets comment here

There’s a pretty large disclaimer attached that the feature is “in Beta” and users are requested to feedback any errors – I hope in vain that any feedback received is going to be put back into cyclestreets to help improve their excellent service, rather than just improving Google’s results at the expense of a hard-working endeavour which has been beavering away in a comparatively dark corner of the internet purely for the good of us cyclists…

Not having used the service “in anger” ,I’m not going to comment on its accuracy here, but I would say that some of the suggested routes (at least my commuting ones anyway) are a little odd – whilst cycle route 56 is pointed out, the alternatives don’t seem to to offer me anything different (faster, more bike-friendly) – which is unfortunate, as this is a feature cyclestreets DO offer in their data.

Still, not wanting to sound like a big whinger – it’s great that Google are raising the profile of cycling by adding this functionality and here’s hoping that the service improves over time (how about adding known accident blackspots?)

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