Google Maps now allows you to search for the best cycling route to your destination in over 150 American cities filtering results by route safety and the presence of cycling lanes. “After a long wait and more than 50,000 signatures on an online petition, cyclists will be happy to know that Google has finally added bicycle routes to Google Maps. ‘In Google Maps, users can now find ‘Bicycling” in the tool’s ‘Get Directions’ drop-down box. After choosing the option, bikers can input two addresses and find the bike route that will get them to their desired destination. Like Google Maps’ other modes of transportation, the mapping tool provides turn-by-turn directions and an estimated travel time. The new Google Maps bicycling feature is available in 150 U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City. The tool boasts over 12,000 bike trails. When users look for directions, the company’s mapping algorithm weights trails more heavily than roads for safety reasons. If cities have bicycle lanes, those are also weighted more heavily than roads without them. One of the neatest features built into the Google Maps bicycling tool is its power-exertion calculation. According to the company, biking directions ‘compute the effort [bicyclists] will require and the speed [they will] achieve while going uphill.’ Based on those calculations, the tool provides bicyclists with a route that eliminates areas that would require ‘an unreasonable degree of exertion.'”
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