During this week’s League of American Wheelmen, er… Bicyclists National Bike Summit at The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., Google announced the roll-out of ‘Grab Your Bike and Go with Google Maps‘, a new overlay for their Google Maps that provides routing tailored by a combination of algorithms, contributor inputs from organizations like the National Rails to Trails Conservancy, and now actual users who provide recommended updates via a feedback feature.
I suspect that most every cyclist who hangs out or surfs the net will have already learned about this as the Press Release from the NBS and LAB was instantaneously Facebooked, tweeted and Emailed to cyclists throughout the world; however, in case you’re interested in more than just a link to a 3rd hand news story or YouTube video here is the Blog entry from the League:
The League of American Bicyclists is proud to be the forum for Google to announce what all bike riders have been waiting for – Grab Your Bike and Go with Google Maps. Google is announcing at the Opening Plenary Session at the National Bike Summit that they are adding biking directions in the U.S. to Google Maps. “This new tool will open people’s eyes to the possibility and practicality of hopping on a bike and riding,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “We know people want to ride more, and we know it’s good for people and communities when they do ride more – this makes it possible. It is a game-changer, especially for those short trips that are the most polluting,”
And for those who learn better by watching video tutorials and demo’s, here you go:
And, lest you think that everyone in the world views this as a good thing for all of man-kind, here’s a slight counterpoint from Micheal Tunison, editor of ‘Edge’ with a wry sense of humor underscored by a sentiment shared by many who have had the opportunity to see cyclists not necessarily on best behavior:
Oh, bicycle riders, aren’t you so special? First you pressure communities to give you special bike lanes so you don’t get hit by cars. Some of you go so far as to badger city planners to develop pedestrian and biker friendly neighborhoods to “break the automobile’s stranglehold on our national culture”. Now you have Google designing special features to make it easier to chart a trip by bike. The out of control bicycle culture must come to a swift and decisive end. FOUR TIRES GOOD! TWO TIRES BAD!
I keed, of course. It’s nice for Google to appeal to nice crunchy urban hipsters who fetishize bicycle travel for this mapping feature. Now if they could only indicate which intersections in which bicyclists are less likely just to blow through traffic lights without regard to anything, then it might be more useful.
I’ve got to tell you, he makes a really good point. I’ll have to see if the National Bike Summit did anything to address poor cyclist citizenship and the tribal agenda clashes within the cycling community.