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Google Maps is getting a major update to help you hire a bike

Google Maps
(Image credit: Google / TechRadar)

Google Maps has long made it easier to get from A to B thanks to its driving, walking and public transport directions. Directions for cyclists were added to the service a decade ago, and now Google is improving things for both people who own a bike, and those looking to rent one.

For cyclists with their own bike, Google Maps' directions are being improved to make them even more helpful and relevant. With factors such as road conditions and availability of bike lanes already being taken into account, Google is inviting local government agencies to upload the latest information about changes to cycle lanes so users are kept fully up to date.

Part of the reason for introducing the new features now is coronavirus. The pandemic means that not only have many people felt inclined to avoid busy public transport, but also that lockdown-inspired health kicks have led to more people using two wheels for their journeys. On top of this, Google notes that in many cities there have been changes to cycle lanes as part of a push to encourage more people to cycle.

Of course, not everyone owns a bike – but this doesn't mean that cycling need be off the agenda. There are plenty of bikeshare schemes in operation around the world which allow people to borrow a bike or e-bike for a journey and drop it off at a docking station. An upcoming change not only makes it easier to navigate between bike pick-up and drop-off points, but also provides up-to-the-minute information about the number of bikes available at a location.

On your bike

The changes mean that Google Maps will now given bikeshare users complete end-to-end directions for their journeys. there are walking directions to nearby docking stations – and the knowledge that there should be bikes available when you get there – and then cycling directions to the bike dock closest to where you want to go. Finally, you'll get walking directions to your destination

In all, Google is bringing docked bikeshare directions to ten cities around the world: Chicago, US (Divvy/Lyft), New York City, US (Citi Bike/Lyft), San Francisco Bay Area, US (Bay Wheels/Lyft), Washington, DC, US (Capital Bikeshare/Lyft), London, England (Santander Cycles/TfL), Mexico City, Mexico (Ecobici), Montreal, Canada (BIXI/Lyft), Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (Bike Itaú), São Paulo, Brazil (Bike Itaú), and Taipei and New Taipei City, Taiwan (YouBike).

Google says that in some cities it will also show users links to bikeshare apps that can be used to book and unlock bikes.

Via Android Central