Google has added bike route mapping capabilities to its ubiquitous Google Maps service, intended to allow cyclists to find pedal-friendly ways to travel through hundreds of U.S. cities.

The maps now contain data on bike trails and lanes and suggest efficient routes that avoid steep hills, according to Google. The effort seems be focused on cities and Google makes no mention of road biking between cities or trails in more rural areas such as National Parks.

Bike map from the suburbs of Washington DC to the Washington Monument.

The biking option is integrated into the normal Google maps interface as one of four drop-down options when a user asks for directions from one location to another.

Not everyone is impressed. Reporters at the New York Post used the system to navigate by bike through the Big Apple and found that they were routed through treacherous traverse roads and steer cyclists to truck-riddled thoroughfares.

“A helmet may not be enough to protect cyclists from Google Maps’ latest feature,” they wrote.

Given the source, we’ll reserve judgment.

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