Tag Archives: bicycle

Google Maps update – bicycle legend now shows bike lanes, shared lanes, and bike-friendly roads

If you’re looking for new ways to get around for fun or to work, or might be trying to live a greener lifestyle in 2012, why not try biking? In March 2010 we introduced biking directions and since then Google Maps has been sharing biking directions with cyclists across the U.S and Canada.

Since no bike path is the same, many users have requested an easier way to differentiate the different types of bike routes that are available. Starting today, a new legend feature can help you understand what the different colors on the bike maps symbolize.

  • Dark green is for dedicated trails and paths
  • Light green is for roads with dedicated lanes
  • Dotted green is for roads that are friendly for cyclists

 

Look for the biking legend in the upper right hand corner of the map.

 

You can view this legend by clicking on the widget in upper right corner of Google Maps and selecting the Bicycling layer. You can also access biking directions on your Android device or by going to maps.google.com on your mobile browser.

 

Source: Google Lat-Long Blog - New Biking Directions Legend

Why Amsterdam, Copenhagen are bike friendly cities

“The bicycle was regarded, more than most places in the world — as ‘good for society,’” he writes in an email. “After the bicycle boom in the late 1800s, many cycling clubs merged and then many of them merged again, morphing into cyclist ‘unions’, with political goals. What happened in most countries in the early 20th century was that sports cycling organizations were formed to further cycling as sport…. Not so in Denmark and the Netherlands. The cyclist unions — meaning organizations for promoting cycling as transport, etc. — stayed strong and separate and they gained political influence.”

Still, that didn’t stop planners from ripping out cycle tracks and starting to design streets for cars as Europe modernized in the wake of World War II. By the early 1960s, much of the cycling infrastructure that had existed in the pre-war era was gone, and the percentage of the population using bicycles for transportation fell to an all-time low of 10 percent.

Then history intervened. “The energy crisis in 1973 hit Denmark hard. Very hard,” writes Colville-Andersen. “Car-free Sundays were introduced in order to save fuel. Every second streetlight was turned off in order to save energy. A groundswell of public discontent started to form. People wanted to be able to ride their bicycles again — safely. Protests took place…. The energy crisis faded, but then returned in 1979. More protests. One form of protest/awareness was painting white crosses on the asphalt where cyclists had been killed. This time, things happened. We started to rebuild our cycle track network in the early 1980s. Fatalities and injuries started falling. The network was expanded.

learn more about bikes in each city, and a video, atThe Atlantic Cities

 

// Photo – Moyan_brenn

Bike sharing comes to Los Angeles with Bike Nation

A couple of years ago bike sharing came to Washington D.C. when I was living there. At first the concept confused me until someone explained that it’s like a taxi, designed to get you from one point to another. With enough stations it can be a convenient, healthy, and cheaper method to get around town.

I ended up using them everyday for about a month and loving it. Now, that same service is coming to Los Angeles:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will unveil a $16-million bike-share program Sunday that aims to put thousands of bicycles at hundreds of rental kiosks across the city.

Initial plans are to add 400 stations and 4,000 bicycles over the next 18 to 24 months in areas around downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Playa del Rey, Westwood and Venice Beach.

The private investment from Bike Nation will not need any city money, according to the mayor’s office and the company. Bike Nation has agreed to a minimum contract of 10 years.

“This is exactly what L.A. needs,” CicLAvia organizer Aaron Paley said. “If you take the bus, or you take the train, or you’re walking out of your house and you need to get somewhere, how do you accomplish that short trip in between? Bike share is definitely the way to do it.”

more atLA Times Local

The service becomes one more crucial link for those living a car-free life.

The rates are much cheaper than a taxi at $1.50/hour or $6/day, with trips shorter than 30 minutes being free. But you can expect most folks to one-year pass for $75 (students/seniors, $60).

Bike Nation also has plans to create a smaller program in Anaheim in June.

Are you biking more because of the high gas prices?

I love this story because it backs up my own behavior. With gas prices skyrocketing I find myself biking for local errands, and I’ve begun to love it!

Nearly 70 percent of Americans’ car trips are less than two miles long. It’s a no-brainer that biking instead of driving to take care of these trips is a great way to get exercise while cutting air pollution.

Last week, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives published findings from a study by scientists at the University of Wisconsin on the economic and health benefits of switching from a car to a bike for trips shorter than five miles long in 11 metropolitan areas around the upper Midwest…they’d create a net societal health benefit of $3.5 billion per year from the increase in air quality and $3.8 billion in savings from smaller health care costs.

via Good - (thx to Amy Senger)

 

The full story via NPR’s Health Blog.

 

 

Photos of the Google Street View car, snowmobile, bicycle, and push-cart

The cameras behind Street View from Google have covered large parts of the globe and even many indoor locations. But, have you ever wondered what the vehicles carrying those cameras look like?

Cars

Captured in São Paulo, Brazil, on March 26, 2010.

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