As the National Bicycle Summit gets underway in Washington DC this week, Google announced an addition to its Google Maps service, launching an option to get directions optimized for cyclists.
The new option will utilize bike lanes, bike trails, and lighter-traffic roads in determining routes for cyclists. Google says the program will also attempt to avoid hilly terrain whenever possible, a huge plus for cyclists.
The plan means that Google has now integrated bike paths and bike lanes into their gigantic map database, so finding places to ride will be much simpler for cyclists. You can read all about the new features in GoogleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s blog post about the new service here.
I tried the service on my morning commute, and the program immediately suggested the exact route I take, which took me several months to figure out. It was surprisingly effective in avoiding heavy traffic and even utilized our local bike path for several miles. Hats off to Google on this one.