Bike directions Toronto, Ontario

Google Maps bicycling directions are not available for our friends in Canada, but Ride the City quietly launched Ride the City Toronto a couple of days after Google’s big bike there announcement.

Bike directions map from Ride the City Toronto

Ride the City uses map data from the crowd sourced Open Street Map project — which includes bicycle paths, bike lanes, and other bicycle facility data — to generate “safer, safe, and direct” routes for bicyclists in Austin, Chicago, DC Metro, Louisville, New York City, San Diego, Seattle, and now Toronto.

Unlike Google’s One Size Fits All approach of assigning a very high preference to bike paths over direct street routes, Ride the City gives riders the choice of selecting “safer,” “safe,” and “direct” routes. “Safer” assigns a high preference for bike facilities over direct road routes; “safe” programs a moderate preference, and “direct” calculates a direct route without any consideration for bike paths and lanes. (Aside: RtC is a very cool service, but I really wish they’d use different nomenclature. Labeling bike facilities as “safe” is, at best, misleading, partly because that implies roads are unsafe and partly because facilities aren’t necessarily safer.)

Toronto cyclists report the map data still needs some work, with some instances of sending cyclists the wrong way one way streets and so forth, but they also report that the RtC staff have been very quick in responding to input. You can probably also update the data yourself at Open Street Map.

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