I think I’ve recovered from my four day weekend and I’m back in the swing of things. I spent the holiday playing around with MapQuest’s new bike route API to create this bike route application. It works in all of North America (yes, including Mexico and Canada) and Europe and even crosses national boundaries. It doesn’t work in Asia or Australia.

MapQuest’s API uses OpenStreetMap (OSM) data on streets and bike routes. What I’ve discovered: This tool is an excellent way to test the accuracy of OSM data — it routed Ted in Flagstaff the wrong way down a one way street. A bike bridge I use daily in Menlo Park isn’t marked for bicycle access.

So early Monday morning I fixed those issues and couple of others by editing the OSM map source myself. The changes should make it to MapQuest in a couple of days. Google bike directions are cool, but you’re limited to the United States and (soon) a few Canadian cities, and you don’t have direct access to the map database.

Lisa and her colorful tandem

Bicycle News, blogs and links

San Jose, CA to abandon bicycle license program:

But with an estimated 22,000 bicycles sold each year in San Jose, the city in the 2008-2009 budget year collected just $636 in bike license fees. The auditors surveyed two fire stations, where the licenses are distributed, and found that only nine licenses had been issued that year. And although police were supposed to establish a license database where the information could be accessed to aid in recovering stolen bikes, they had not done so.

Helmet cam study shows motorists at fault in majority of bicycle accidents, contrary to the usual statistics showing the cyclist at fault. Via.

New York City now thinking about bike share.

Video for the mechanical design geeks: How to build a Brompton folding bicycle. Via.

DIY child size recumbent trike, complete with super adorable photos! Via.

[Ad] Giant Wald Front Handlebar Bike Delivery Basket

MAKE Magazine’s 2010 holiday gift guide for bike nerds.

Livability paranoia. Deputy Director for HUD’s Office on Sustainable Communities Mariia Zimmerman says livability initiatives are not a partisan issue.

Bike lane observations in San Francisco.

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  1. Richard – can you post information on how to edit the OSM source? I did a quick comparison between MapQuest and Google routes using a route from Albany to Soquel and the OSM data needs a lot of fixing. For example it did not use the Bay Trail from Oakland south to the bridge.

    Routing logic may benefit from changes, Google took a much easier route over the hills (past Lexington Reservoir and over Old Santa Cruz rather than Page Mill to Skyline). I may be interested coding if you wanted to develop this further.

    The visual alignment of the route on the map was also off, i.e. the red route line did not follow roads, so in current form you’d have to follow the written routing instructions rather than use a printout of the map. I can send you examples if you are interested.

  2. I’ve found a lot of those missing trail info too, and a “how to edit OSM” is on my TODO. Briefly, though:

    1. Create account at OSM
    2. Zoom to area you want to edit.
    3. Click “Edit” tab and wait for Flash map editor + data to load.
    4. Edit as you read the Potlatch Primer.
    5. Save and wait 2 or 3 days for MapQuest to catch up on the data update.

    I know about the sloppy line geography — right now it’s just a vector from waypoint start to waypoint end. I need to figure out how to grab all of those intermediate points that define an actual trail.

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