UNITED STATES—As interest in bicycling increases during COVID-19, Google Maps wants to help San Franciscans safely cycle around town. In a recent announcement, Google Maps Product Manager Vishal Dutta announced the company is testing updates to its bicycle directions function in San Francisco.
Most significantly, Google Maps will now let SF riders know where they could pick-up and drop-off rentable bikes when searching for directions. Anyone who uses Google Maps will also see where the closest rentable bikes are in real-time.
But it’s not just the Bay Area that can test out Google Maps’ new bicycle directions function. Indeed, Dutta said they would be rolling out this new feature in ten cities around the world.
Other American cities that will notice updated bicycle rideshare data include NYC, Chicago, and Washington, DC. The other six locations are as follows:
- Taipei City
- Mexico City
- São Paolo
- Rio de Janeiro
In addition to sharing data on ride-share stations and bicycles, Dutta said Google Maps is constantly updating their algorithms to suggest the safest route for cyclists. Since more cities are creating pedestrian-only streets during COVID-19, Dutta urged city leaders to share updated info on its Geo Data Upload page.
The City of San Francisco recently closed miles of residential roads to car traffic. The goal of this “Slow Streets” initiative is to give bicyclists and pedestrians enough space to practice CDC guidelines. Slow Streets recently arrived in Oakland as well.
Since 2013, San Francisco has offered residents access to a citywide bikeshare program known as Bay Wheels. According to the SFMTA, the city should have 320 docking stations and 4,500 rentable bikes within the next few years.