Bicyclists will now be able to figure out the best route to take to work or on recreational rides using Google Maps in the United States.
Google announced the addition of biking directions to the maps this morning, unveiling it at the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. Bicyclists will be able to get step-by-stepbike-specific route suggestions, similar to how users already were ableto choose whether they were driving, walking or taking public transit.
Bike trails are outlined on the map and a "bicycling" layer to the map shows:
Dark green for a dedicated bike-only trail;
Light green for a dedicated bike lane along a road;
Dotted green for roads without bike lanes but that are "bike-friendly" based on terrain and traffic
StreetView is also available on the bicycling layer, so you can get the layof the land before you go there. Local Search also is available, so youcan plan out water or bathroom breaks and even determine where any bikeshops are along the route, should you get a flat or need other help.
Googlesaid thousands of miles of trails have been added onto the maps: "Maybeyou’re planning a trip to Seattle and notice that the Burke-Gilmantrail goes right past your hotel and decide to do an afternoon biketour of the city, or maybe you notice a trail that will make your dailybike-to-work commute safer and more scenic."
Google partnered with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to provide information on bike trails in more than 150 cities.
The new feature is available directly at http://maps.google.com/biking and is in Beta. There's a reporting tool at the bottom of the maps where you can provide feedback or alertGoogle to other trails. It's only available right now on the desktopversion of Google Maps in the U.S., but a mobile version is in theworks.