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Willie Weir : March 12th, 2010

Google Maps Bike Route Option–Not Ready for Prime Time


Alright. The good news is that Google Maps has added a Bike Route option. Great. But a quick “get direction by bike” request from near our place on Beacon Hill to Pike Place Market yields some scary results.

Google Maps Bike Route to Pike Place Market

Click on the link above. Yikes!!!! No bike route should include Rainier Ave … ever.

Google Maps Car Route to Pike Place Market

What I find entertaining, is that the car route above would be one of my preferred routes by bike. Who doesn’t want to scream down Holgate at 40mph?

So I wouldn’t use this service to find a bike route yet. What I would suggest, is to put your regular destinations in the Google Maps bike route option and then use the link to report roads that aren’t suitable for cycling. Or suggest a completely different route.

Google does include the following statement:
“Bicycling directions are in beta. Use caution and please report unmapped bike routes, streets that aren’t suited for cycling, and other problems here.” (linked java).

I would, however, suggest that Google reword their notice to read:
“Bicycling directions are in super-beta. They may just send you on a route that could get you killed. Consult your city bike map or cycling friend before following any Google bike route directions.”

I applaud Google for including cyclists, but this option is not ready for prime time.  With your input, it could be ready sooner rather than later.

2 comments to Google Maps Bike Route Option–Not Ready for Prime Time

  • Sylvie

    Wow. Google maps has you going down Rainier AND Dearborn? They must hate cyclists.

    Or they might not know any better… I hope you informed Google that taking 15th Ave over the Jose Rizal Bridge and continuing along 12th to Pine is much safer than the route they suggested.

    Hopefully, if enough knowledgeable cyclists fix the errors, it can help people just starting out.

  • Chaz

    I don’t know – I’ve taken both dearborn and ranier and didn’t find it too problematic. But I tend to take main arterial in areas I dont know that well, I find I get lost a lot less. That’s the problem with bike routes though – they can be so personal based off an individuals preferences. I actually found biking on Aurora in snohomish county to not be that bad, especially since they have the bus lane on the right hand side, but to each their own.

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