King County’s new bike map look is similar to the design of the official Seattle bike map. It’s far easier to read than the old map design, and readability is an important part of getting more people riding:
When adults give riding a bicycle a try for the first time since they were kids, one of the first things they need to figure out is where to ride. Odds are, it’s not going to be on the same roads they are accustomed to driving. A clear, easy-to-understand route map makes bicycle riding feel less intimidating. Combined with clear pavement markings and route signage, people getting started will be less afraid of getting lost or stranded on a dangerous roadway.
There are other great tools available for anyone who wants to have more bike route information at their fingertips. Just as One Bus Away has made transit use far easier and more efficient for the smart-phone-endowed in our city, Ride the City’s iPhone app makes finding a good bicycle route within Seattle incredibly easy. It costs $3, but it is worth it. Just type in the address of where you want to go, and the app draws a route from your location to there. You can also use RTC in a web browser.
My favorite part of RTC is that it changes the color of the route line depending on how safe each stretch of the trip is. That way you know when to expect troublesome or busy spots. Too cool. And because data for Ride the City is user-supported, the route information will only get better as more people submit changes and suggestions.
Having safe bicycle routes is only part of the battle. Having the tools available to easily find them is also important. Luckily, just like the region’s bicycle facilities, these tools are getting better and better.