Bike Lanes Google Maps | Macfox
    How to show bike lanes and enable cycling mode on Google Maps.  Find safer bike lanes, learn map features, and optimize your route for a better riding experience.

    How to Display Bike Lanes and Enable Cycling Mode on Google Maps

    • By Macfox Bike
    • May 23

    Whenever I need to travel somewhere, I use Google Maps. It's incredibly reliable, providing detailed and accurate directions wherever I go.

    When I'm driving, Google Maps is pretty flawless. It's easy to use, provides traffic updates, and rarely sends me off course.

    When I'm commuting by bike, however, it's not always so trustworthy. While it generally shows me flattish routes with bike paths where possible, it has also sent me on busy roads and even through forests with soft sand trails—scenic but challenging.

    After years of dealing with this, I decided to find better bike routes using Google Maps. The good news is there are ways to improve your biking experience on Google Maps!

    Does Google Maps Show Bike Lanes?

    Yes, Google Maps can display bike lanes, paths, and trails. To enable this feature, go to Layers > Cycling > Turn it On to transform Google Maps into a powerful cycling resource showing nearby bike paths and trails. Enabling this feature provides cyclists with an easier way to plan safe and efficient cycling routes by helping them avoid busy roads and using bike-friendly paths instead. Below are step-by-step instructions and video demonstrations on desktop computers and mobile devices showing how best to use this functionality!

    Check out Macfox’s recommended top routes by state in the US:

    How to Show Bike Lanes on Google Maps


    How to See Bike Lanes on Google Maps on Desktop:

    • Launch Google Maps: Launch the Google Maps website on your desktop browser and sign in with your Google account for a tailored experience.
    • Click "Layers": In the lower-left corner of your screen is an image representing layers resembling stacks of paper; to access its menu, click this icon.
    • Select "Biking": To access cycling layers, a menu will appear with options for "Terrain", "Traffic", Transit", Biking", and "More". Clicking on "Biking" will enable the cycling layer.
    • View Bike Routes: Google Maps will show all available bicycle routes in your area, highlighted green or brown, depending on their type. Zoom in or out as needed to explore various paths and plan your journey efficiently.

    Note: Due to insufficient information for some layers, when they cannot be selected due to insufficient details, they will appear unavailable, and you will not be able to pick them - especially common in areas with less mapped cycling infrastructure.

    How to Show Bike Paths on Google Maps on Mobile:

    1. Open the Google Maps App: Launch the Google Maps app on your mobile device. Make sure you have the latest version of the app installed for the best experience.

    2. Select Layers: Tap the layers icon at the top right of your screen. This icon is usually represented by a stack of papers or a map layer symbol.

    3. Choose “Cycling”: You’ll see two categories: “Map type” and “Map details”. Under “Map details”, select “Cycling” to enable the cycling layer.

    4. View Cycling Routes: The app will display all available cycling routes in your area. You can pinch and zoom to explore different routes and get a better understanding of the cycling infrastructure around you.

    Google Maps Mobile Version | Macfox

    To turn off the cycling view, tap the layers icon again and deselect "Cycling." Remember that there may not be sufficient information on routes in your area for this function to function effectively.

    Read more: How Much Does An Electric Bike Cost In The USA?

    How to Activate Bike Mode in Google Maps

    Google Maps shows four types of bicycle paths, colour-coded for easy recognition:

    • Dark Green: Trails without auto traffic. These paths are designated solely for cyclists and pedestrians, providing a safe and serene space to ride without interference from motor vehicles.
    • Green: Lanes dedicated to cyclists that share roads with cars. The lanes feature marked bike lanes to protect cyclists and reduce the risk of accidents.
    • Dotted Green Line: Bicycle-friendly roads without dedicated lanes are recommended for cyclists due to lower traffic volumes and more favourable conditions; they are typically quieter and safer for cycling.
    • Brown: Unpaved off-road dirt paths that offer rugged yet natural biking experiences are great for off-road cycling and adventurous rides, making these trails suitable for mountain bikes and trail enthusiasts.

    Understanding these colour codes enables cyclists to select routes that best match their preferences and comfort levels, creating a more accessible and enjoyable biking experience. Choosing the path best suited to you allows for tailored journeys to leisurely rides and adventurous excursions.

    How to Enable Bicycle Mode on Google Maps

    Follow these steps to activate bike mode and receive navigation that caters specifically to cyclists:

    • Enter Your Destination: Launch Google Maps and type your destination into the search bar or use voice-enabled navigation to get there quickly.
    • Tap Directions: To initiate route planning, tap the directions button near the bottom of your screen.
    • Select the Bike Icon: The bike icon allows users to view cycling-specific routes from the transportation mode options. This will orient routes towards prioritized bike lanes and cyclist-friendly roadways.
    • Start Your Journey: Follow the directions for an enjoyable ride along a bike-friendly route. The app will guide your steps with turn-by-turn instructions that ensure you remain on designated bike paths while avoiding high-traffic areas.
    Google Maps For Mobile | Macfox

    What Speed Does Google Maps Assume for Cycling?

    Google Maps utilizes a standard cycling speed of 16 km/h (10 mph). This standard speed allows Google to estimate travel times for cyclists; however, actual journey times may vary considerably based on individual cycling speeds, fitness levels, and route conditions; faster cyclists might complete their trip faster, while leisurely riders might take longer; it is essential to take these variances into account when planning your trip to ensure timely arrivals and on-time departures. Understanding this baseline speed helps more accurately estimate travel times.

    How Can I Locate Bicycle Routes Near My Location

    Google Maps may be your go-to source for cycling routes, but other tools may help as well:

    Bikemap - Cycle Route Planner:

    Bikemap is an online and app tool that leverages big data to find popular cycling routes, with both free and premium versions offering features to enhance route planning for cyclists. Of particular note is its "Heatmap", which highlights the most sought-after cycling routes nearby.

    Bikemap describes its Heatmap option: "The Bikemap Heatmap is an interactive map depicting more than 300 Million kilometers of route data collected, planned, uploaded, saved, and saved by over one million Bikemap users over time. This tool captures our community's collective knowledge about cycling routes and best paths that even remote regions have routes enjoyed by cyclists."

    Use the Heatmap to discover new and exciting routes popularly traversed by cyclists - guaranteeing a more leisurely, safer, and enjoyable ride!

    Bikemap Cycle Route Planner | Macfox

    Strava Route Builder:

    Another excellent tool for mapping bike routes, the "Route Builder" offered by Strava, remains an indispensable resource for cyclists. Although its free feature has now morphed into a subscription service, its functionality remains valuable and accessible to cyclists of all levels.

    Strava describes its Route Builder function: "With a Strava subscription, users can build routes from scratch by selecting "Create New Route" from My Routes page or creating one from the drop-down menu. In Route Builder panel on left to set preferences and begin planning."

    By taking advantage of these tools along with Google Maps, cyclists can benefit from an integrated suite of resources to locate, plan, and navigate their ideal biking routes - further enriching their overall cycling experience. These tools offer additional insights and features that complement Google Maps in providing a holistic route planning and navigation solution.

    Strava Route Builder | Macfox


    In conclusion, while Google Maps is exceptionally reliable for driving, it also holds great potential for cyclists with a few adjustments. By leveraging its features, such as the cycling layer and bike mode, you can find safer and more scenic routes.

    Whether you're commuting to work or exploring new trails, taking the time to customize your Google Maps settings can greatly enhance your cycling experience. With these tools at your disposal, you can enjoy a smoother, more enjoyable ride and make the most out of every journey.


    How do I display bike lanes on Google Maps?

    Open Google Maps, click "Layers," select "Biking," and view available bike routes.

    Can I use Google Maps to find bike-friendly routes?

    Yes, enable the cycling layer to find bike-friendly paths and trails.

    What types of bike paths are shown on Google Maps?

    Google Maps shows trails, dedicated lanes, bicycle-friendly roads, and unpaved paths.

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