Sites To Use Collection Of Useful Web Apps, Web Sites and Web Startups

June 16, 2009 – Find Safe Bike Routes For Cyclists

Ride the city is a web site that provides the web service of finding a safe bike route. Enter your starting and ending address (or drag the cyclist and stop sign icons to the map). They will take it from there. All the routes will be shown on a well directed map of the town. This site gives you a safe route, safer route and a direct route to use within the city.

Most routing applications choose the best route based on the distance or time required from start to finish. This site does the same thing except they factor in street segments with bike facilities.

It considers streets with bike lanes to be shorter than they actually are. This is slightly exaggerated on the ‘safe route’ and more exaggerated on the ‘safer route.’ The result is that the ‘safer route’ will direct you out of your way to the nearest greenway, bike lane, or street segment that users have suggested to them. The ‘direct route’ is exactly that — the shortest route they can find.

This site generates routes with a larger-than-expected number of steps for a few reasons:

1. Safer routes tend to be longer routes as the optimizer tries to steer riders toward greenways, bike lanes and other quiet streets. Those extra blocks can mean a few extra steps.
2. It also generates an additional step each time a bike lane begins or ends on a street. For example, if a route includes a street that has no bike lane for 4 blocks, a bike lane for 12 blocks, and then no bike lane for 2 blocks, RTC shows three steps.
3. It also generates steps when the name of a street changes.

Also you have an added advantage using this site. You can search for bike shops along your route. On the results page, zoom in on the map and look for the sprocket icons. These denote nearby bike shops. Click on the icon to get the name, address, phone number, and hours for each shop.

The only problem right now with this site is that it only covers the five boroughs of New York City: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island (via the Staten Island Ferry), but they are working on Westchester County.


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