Summer is in full swing and people across the world are opting to hop on their bikes. Coming in at no. 22, Ireland ranks among the top 30 countries in the world in terms of biking directions usage in Google Maps. Since February, requests for cycling directions in Google Maps have jumped by 69 percent—hitting an all-time high last month.
In Ireland, Google Maps have seen requests for cycling directions increase by 76% and search interest for “bike repair near me” more than doubled over the past year. Whether people are hitting the road to get their heart pumping or commute safely during COVID-19, Google Maps is making it easier for cyclists everywhere to get on their own bike or a shared one.
Ten years ago, Google introduced biking directions in Google Maps. Now it’s available in nearly 30 countries around the world and millions of people use it every day. As biking habits change, especially as things evolve with COVID-19, we’re constantly updating this information to help you uncover the most reliable bike route.
Raise the (handle)bar on biking routes
To give you the most up-to-date bike route, Google Maps uses a combination of machine learning, complex algorithms and an understanding of real-world conditions based on imagery and data from government authorities and community contributions. Google Maps also consider various forms of bike lanes and nearby streets that might be less friendly for your two wheels (like tunnels, stairs and poor surface conditions) so you can have the best and smoothest biking route. You can also see how flat or steep your route will be, so you’ll know if you’re in for an easy breezy ride or one that will really get the heart pumping.
However, the best route can always change and we are hard at work to reflect new information. For instance, due to COVID-19, many cities are adding and widening bike lanes to encourage cycling and accommodate more riders. Google Maps is already working to integrate hundreds of thousands of new bike lanes in the coming months. Local government agencies can provide this data through the Geo Data Upload tool to have their latest bike lane information reflected in Google Maps.
Gear up for new docked bikeshare directions in 10 cities
As more people choose to cycle, they’re buying new bikes, fixing up old ones and turning to bike sharing options. In fact, worldwide search interest for “bike repair near me” hit an all-time high this month—more than double what it was last year.
For riders opting to use bike sharing, Google Maps is rolling out more detailed information. Over the last several years, Google have launched a dockless bike and scooter integration with Lime in more than 100 cities and introduced real-time docked bikeshare information to help travellers in select cities locate bike sharing stations and real-time availability. With bikeshare providers seeing sharp increases in usage during COVID-19, it’s even more important to quickly and easily check how many bikes are available at the station you’re headed toward and if there are docks available to drop off your bike near your destination.
Starting today, when you look up biking directions, you’ll see end-to-end directions that include docked bikeshare information. Steps will include detailed walking directions to bikeshare stations near your starting point along with live bike availability, turn-by-turn cycling directions to the bikeshare station closest to your destination with live dock availability, and, finally, walking directions from there to your final destination. And, for some cities, Maps will show you links to open the relevant bikeshare app to book and unlock the bike.