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Finding a safe route to ride your bike is set to be easier than ever as cycling routes are made available on UK Google Maps for the first time at 5pm today, following collaboration between charity Sustrans and Google.
In a ground-breaking move for cyclists and would-be cyclists, National Cycle Network routes across the UK can now be navigated online using a new bicycle symbol on Google Maps, alongside the options of driving, public transport and walking.
Cyclists can now plan their plan their trips, make use of bike lanes, calculate cycle-friendly routes that avoid big hills and customise the map for cycling on smart phones and computers.
The development follows news of the biggest ever increase in use of National Cycle Network – the nationwide system of off-road cycle paths and quiet streets for safe cycling – in 2011.
Sustrans is marking the occasion with the release of new video, ‘Lucy’s Cycling Treasure Hunt’, heralding the online mapping as a new beginning.
Sustrans’ Chief Executive, Malcolm Shepherd said;
“Safety is the number one concern for people who want to ride their bikes and now it’s easier than ever to find the safest way to get from a to b on two wheels.
“Google has given cycling equal status to driving and using public transport – it’s time our politicians and local councils did the same.”
Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist at Google UK said:
"We know how popular cycling is in London and the rest of the UK, especially ahead of a busy summer, which is why we are thrilled to bring cycling directions to Google Maps.
“Thanks to Sustrans, we now have thousands miles of trails and routes, as well as bike lanes and recommended streets for cities across the country.
“We'll continue to add new trail information and urge commuters to swap their car for a bike as they can now find a convenient route that makes use of dedicated bike tracks and avoid hills whenever possible."