Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Google Maps Now Include Directions for Bicyclists

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Google Maps now provides directions for bicyclists in Chicago and 149 other cities. The direct site is

Keep in mind that this is a "beta" program and there are some kinks that will need to be worked out. Fortunately the beta version provides a link for riders to give feedback if the routes provided are impractical or otherwise less than ideal.

I already found a route that was not the most precise or bike friendly. I did a search for "Directions" for a "Bicycle" between the Forest Park Blue Line stop and Glen Ellyn, IL. I know from experience that you can go a little bit west of the Forest Park Blue Line stop and jump onto the head of the Prairie Path at 1st Avenue in Maywood. The Prairie Path then takes you directly into downtown Glen Ellyn. However, Google Maps said to ride west to Butterfield and jump on the Prairie Path at a later point a few miles down. There might be an argument that this is more efficient in terms of exact distance and maybe even time, but travelling on Washington Street through Forest Park and Maywood is a lot less safe than rolling down the Prairie Path.

Nonetheless, many thanks to the folks at Google for doing this. When blue chip companies like Google help promote bicycling (as well as walking and public transportation) as a part of their maps and recognize that streets aren't just for cars, there's reason to believe that progress is being made. And that's a good thing.

If you have any questions regarding this post or about Illinois bicycle law, contact Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or