Bikers in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom will be able to find the best routes for them thanks to the inclusion of bike lanes, trails and bike-friendly roads in Google Maps.
All the new data is available on Google Maps, the website, but, more importantly, it's available in the mobile app version of the service. The tool comes especially handy in crowded cities.
"We know how popular cycling is in many parts of the world, so we wanted to include as much bike trail data as possible to provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trips, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and busy roads and to customize the look of the cycling map to encourage people to hop on their bikes. So that's exactly what we've done," Google explained.
Earlier this year, Google Maps introduced biking directions legend. It has several ways of depicting roads for bikes, i.e. dedicated lanes or trails or just roads that are less trafficked by cars. This new data becomes available when selecting the "Bicycling" layer in Google Maps.
This alone will make it easy to plan a route or see which parts of town are the best for bikes. It's also helpful when trying to find new places to ride your bike.
When you're actually trying to get somewhere though, there are now also biking directions, along with directions for driving, walking or public transport. Note though that directions are only available in some of the countries that biking data was added, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.