Google Maps gets cycle paths

Cycling's good for you - it's healthy, relatively quick, and you can get to places that greenhouse gas-belching automobiles can't. As a result, Google has decided that its Maps product should offer directions for cyclists, as well as driving, walking and public transport.

During the National Bike Summit in Washington DC, Google will announce that 150 cities across the US will be getting bike maps that actively avoid cyclist-unfriendly obstacles like steep hills and 6-lane freeways. They'll stick to relatively flat and less-crowded routes. It'll also direct you to bike lanes and bike-only paths as appropriate.

No word on when similar functionality might roll out for European cities - which are generally altogether more bike-friendly than their US counterparts. When we hear anything about an initiative from Google in that area, we'll be sure to let you know.