Cyclists in Mexico City will now be able to map their trips on Google Maps using cycling routes – the latest addition to Google’s services in the Mexican capital. The function allows cyclists to see where the paths are as well as what kind of path it is based on color coding, with dark green meaning official bike lines with barriers to separate them from drivers, light green meaning lanes that are not separated from drivers, a dotted green line meaning streets where cyclists can bike, but which do not have designated bike lanes, and brown meaning dirt paths – often those adjacent to highways.
The maps were developed by a group of 80 people, who included volunteers as well as independent cyclists and bike clubs like Rodadas MX and Bicitekas. On the city side, Mobility Secretariat and Environment Secretariat representatives participated in the project. A pilot program was conducted in the city of Monterrey in Nuevo Leon before the project to map Mexico City kicked off in February.
Google’s map application in Mexico already includes car, public transportation and pedestrian routes.
Cyclists in Mexico City have long been lobbying both to increase bike lanes and up protection for cyclists. In 2008, the city launched an official Move by Bike (Muévete en Bici) event, where the city’s Paseo de la Reforma Boulevard is shut to traffic every Sunday, allowing people on bicycles and on foot to access the city freely.
Residents of Mexico City spend an average of three hours a day commuting, yet in spite of the growing community of cyclists on the road and city-led campaigns to promote cycling, it is cars rather than bicycles that often claim right of way.
In 2010, the city’s public bike sharing system ECOBICI was established with the aim of integrating bicycles into the city’s transport system. Using ECOBICI, registered users can take a bike from any bike station and return it to another one closer to their destination for an unlimited number of 45-minute trips. The network began with 1,200 bikes at 84 bike stations and has since grown to include 6,000 bicycles at 444 stations, serving 100,000 users.
Google Maps first introduced cycle routes to the US and Canada in 2010, before rolling out the function across Europe and UK in 2012.