Should Google Maps cater for motorcyclists?

google maps handheld

Published on 15 March 2018 by Robert Drane

Google Maps has come a long way during its 13-year history, with innovative features like Streetview, business locations and live traffic updates. It’s easy to find the best route to anywhere – whether you’re walking, cycling, driving or even flying… But what about riding a motorcycle?

One of the many benefits of riding a motorcycle is that travel times can be much shorter than when driving a car. Riders can easily filter through congestion and traffic queues whereas other vehicles may be stuck for long periods.

However, such benefits of motorcycling aren’t reflected in the times and routes demonstrated by Google Maps. A specialised motorcycle option is clearly missing.

In December, Google released motorcycle features to its maps service in India. The features included offering predicted journey times and motorcycle-specific directions that would otherwise be unsuitable for larger vehicles. Carole Nash recently began a petition to encourage the online giant to consider adding an option for powered-two-wheelers in the UK.

Tony Campbell, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), said:

“Car journey times just aren’t accurate for riders of powered two-wheelers as they cut through rush hour congestion in the time you would expect to move in free-flowing traffic. This has been confirmed through a series of city challenges in many European cities, including several in the UK.”

“Government records show the number of people getting onto motorcycles and scooters has increased by 74% since 1996, so MCIA fully supports the call for Google Maps to introduce powered two-wheeler journey times.”

The benefits of a Google Maps option wouldn’t just be for motorcyclists. It could encourage more road users to see the many benefits of motorcycling, getting more riders on the road. The more bikes on the road, the less congestion there will be overall, helping all road users.

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