back to article App steers cyclists away from traffic, upward inclines

Bicycle trade organisations have commissioned a satnav app that, they claim, steers cyclists away from busy roads and shortens journey times. The Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner shows bicycle-friendly shortcuts that avoid traffic congestion and gives priority to downhill routes. A bike shop locator displays directions to traders …

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Sounds great...

... when's the Android version coming though? :-(

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Go

Other platforms soon/already

You can read about similar apps based on the same routing data and maps here:

http://www.cyclestreets.net/blog/2010/09/24/cyclestreets-mobile-platforms/

It's a bit confusing to cover because this isn't the standard dog-eat-dog competing proprietary software model. Instead they're mostly building on the same data resource provided by OpenStreetMap (for general mapping), OpenCycleMap (for bike specific mapping) and CycleStreets (for bike routing).

These are all "open" to various degrees and so you'll be able to access them in a variety of ways on a variety of platforms, much like the profusion of platform specific Wikipedia apps and mobile web versions.

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CycleStreets for Android / API

There's an update on our blog about the CycleStreets Android app, and I believe BikeHub (the guys whose app is featured in this article) are also planning to do their great app soon for Android.

Our own app is at www.cyclestreets.net/mobile with a full placefinder, turn-by-turn and a photomap for adding Photos. Android app is in the works - http://github.com/cyclestreets

Our API is published, at: www.cyclestreets.net/api and it would be great to see more apps on a range of platforms coming forward :)

GO, because cyclists don't like to stop :)

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Go

@AC & cyclestreets

Nice one. I'll check it out. :-)

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Don't bother with the Android version guys...

It will only encourage the adoption of a platform thats taking us back to the nightmares of Windows XP.

Use your resources to improve the app on the iPhone. Who knows you could even make money from this if you ever decided to release a Pro version... on iOS that is.

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Hah!

"It will only encourage the adoption of a platform thats taking us back to the nightmares of Windows XP."

Are you talking about The IPhone OS?

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Grenade

London cyclists

"Maybe it'll encourage London cyclists to obey traffic lights, but , cynical pedestrians that we are, we doubt it"

And maybe the huge choice of in-car sat-navs with speed camera locations will encourage drivers to drive according to the road conditions?

Having said that, there are lot of twattish London cyclists, you don't see much of that kind of behaviour oop north anyway.

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WTF?

errrm

Never been to Manchester then?

Talking of oop North, OSM isn't a lot of use where I live as most of the streets are missing from it. (And no, I don't want to wander them with a GPS unit)

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JMB

Cyclists

"Having said that, there are lot of twattish London cyclists, you don't see much of that kind of behaviour oop north anyway."

Depends what you define as "oop North" but I suspect that I am much further North than you. The main pedestrianised street here has No Cycling signs everywhere but they are completely ignored. You even have to be careful in the pedestrian underpass for cyclists speeding through ignoring the No Cycling signs.

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Flame

Cynical pedestrians...

As a cynical cyclist (who stops at red lights, doesn't use bike paths in the wrong direction and won't ride on pedestrian paths), I'd say that cyclists will start obeying red lights when pedestrians stop walking on bike paths/lanes...

Take care, whatever mode of transport you're using.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh, that well known problem

As a pedestrian, I've often thought "Yeah, I'm bored of the pavement. I think I'll walk along the side of the A666. It's a cycle lane bit, so I'll be safe from Artics and BMWs."

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FAIL

Highway code.

"I'd say that cyclists will start obeying red lights when pedestrians stop walking on bike paths/lanes.." I sugest you read the highway code. Pedestrians are doing nothing wrong walking in bike paths or lanes.

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Wrong Highway Code!

You are wrong mostly, see: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/DG_069837

62 Cycle Tracks. These are normally located away from the road, but may occasionally be found alongside footpaths or pavements. Cyclists and pedestrians may be segregated or they may share the same space (unsegregated). When using segregated tracks you MUST keep to the side intended for cyclists as the pedestrian side remains a pavement or footpath. Take care when passing pedestrians, especially children, older or disabled people, and allow them plenty of room. Always be prepared to slow down and stop if necessary. Take care near road junctions as you may have difficulty seeing other road users, who might not notice you.

[Law HA 1835 sect 72]

63 Cycle Lanes.

relates to lanes on roads and pedestrians shouldn't be walking on them, should they

Some Mums & Dads seem to think childrens buggies being a wheeled vehicle can use Cycle Lanes/tracks!

Disabled buggies are also a significant hazard in cycle lanes here on the costa geriatrica.

Whilst ensuring I'm not inconveniencing other road users going through red lights can often be the safest option for all.

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Joke

"gives priority to downhill routes"

If it can find me a downhill route from my home to work and then another downhill route back home again, then it's worth every penny.

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energy problems solved

Downhill both ways... all our energy problems solved! How many cyclists will it take using their dynamos to charge us all sufficient batteries to power our electric vehicles (or even our puny LED lights that now replace the incandescent bulbs I fondly remember...)?

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You need the soon to be announced Escher version.

That is all.

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(untitled)

Funny you should mention this. The first route I asked of it was from home to my office, it chose a route which is lighter on traffic than the one I take, but does include a 20% incline to a height which I can happily avoid by taking the main(ish) road.

I'm not trying to be critical, this is a welcome addition to my cyclist tool kit, especially as a relative novice, but it's not perfect and no substitute for reading a proper map.

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Red lights?

"Maybe it'll encourage London cyclists to obey traffic lights, but , cynical pedestrians that we are, we doubt it."

Because, of course, you never get a motorist ignoring traffic lights do you?

...oh hang on a moment though, for every cyclist who flies past me while I'm waiting for the lights to turn green, I probably get a dozen or more motorists who do the same. But of course that doesn't make a good anti-cyclist rant, does it?

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Anonymous Coward

By the sounds of it

You live in London.

I'm very, very sorry for you. In the civilised world of the North East of England (and the NE of Scotland, come to think of it) out traffic- generally- sticks to what the lights tell us. Maybe a cheeky rush-though-a-yellow every so often I'll admit- and frequent exceeding of the speed limit- but from what I've seen they're generally not particularly disruptive to rule-abiding road users.

Cyclists, on the other hand, have a far higher percentage of twattishness. And that even applies in Aberdeen where _everyone_ is an utter twat. Seriously, BMW X5/Audi Q5 driving Aberdonian mothers are less often disruptive to the traffic flow/pedestrians than cyclists.

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Bollox

" for every cyclist who flies past me while I'm waiting for the lights to turn green, I probably get a dozen or more motorists"

Bollocks. Utter utter lies. Its a rare that cyclists take any notice red lights. That might just be where I live, but most go strait through them, and I have only once seen a motorist ignore a red light (as apposed to running one late).

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From a Cynical Cyclist

Maybe they can invent an app for pedestrians that'll stop them stepping out at junctions without looking, and even obey pedestrian signals! Better yet, take the iPhone away from them altogether.

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FAIL

They should look

But it is your responsibility to not hit them. No light or sign can stop a pedestrian crossing a road (With the exception of M-Ways)

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Silver badge

there's maps and there's maps

The TfL paper maps have been reissued with no real changes other than to remove indication of many one-way streets - well, that and plastering Tory/Barclays blue over them and putting some clown's mug on them.

It appears that cyclists have got pissed off with TfL's total lack of cycling nous (don't mention the fucking advert for Rupert known as 'Skyride') and have gone thier own way to produce cycle maps that actually mean something to cyclists and not just ride the Barclays routes on Barclays bikes for the ego boost that Boris gets for doing fuck all except gurning to cameras.

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Anonymous Coward

confident cyclist

As a confident cyclist (who treats red lights as give way signs) I can categorically state that jumping red lights increases rather than decreases my safety on the roads. I always give way to pedestrians (no need to annoy anyone).

And I'm not alone in thinking this. TFL's own Cycle Safety Action Plan states that whilst there is a public perception that jumping red lights is dangerous, the stats don't back up that impression.

No doubt this is public perception formed by people who never ride bikes and hence have no idea whatsoever how dangerous it is to start moving at the same time as all the other vehicles who will drive too close behind, overtake too closely, overtake you and then turn left right in front of you (or just turn left without bothering to properly overtake you) or rush to turn right in and run you over when you're heading the other way.

So as a commuting cyclist, all I ask is that you accept that I know what is safe and what isn't - I'm hardly going to risk my life going through lights now am I?

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confident cyclis

What you say makes a lot of sense, but I understand the public perception.

I have only started cycling again in the past couple of months after a 12 or so year break, basically since I was a child/adolescent. I don't jump red light at the moment as I know I don't fully appreciate all the factors I need to consider when doing so, my current background is in 1500KGs of steel after all. I mention this as I see on the road cyclists who jump lights in a sensible manner, looking and being considerate and those who just 'go for it', it's the latter group who give all of us a bad name and don't help anyone.

Let's face it, some light touch regulation would be a little inconvenient for the proper cyclists in the short term but I think has the potential, if worked correctly to have some long term benefits in terms of road user attitude and cyclist behavior.

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Stop

You can categoricaly state nothing of the sort

"No doubt this is public perception formed by people who never ride bikes and hence have no idea whatsoever how dangerous it is to start moving at the same time as all the other vehicles"

Frankly, if this is the case for you then you're doing it wrong.

As a cyclist of 20+ years and over 250k miles who obeys traffic signals regardless of his own personal opinion, I would like to thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for being one of those who reinforce the negative perception of cyclists in the minds of self-righteous motorists everywhere, a small minority of whom feel perfectly at liberty to act aggressively towards cyclists.

Even if your untested theory is correct, it doesn't change the fact that obeying the law is not optional for you or for anyone else on the road. Your argument is as hollow as the "I'm a safe driver and should be allowed to drive at 50mph in x/y/z 40mph zone" twaddle trotted out with alarming regularity by similarly pinheaded motorists.

Please - learn how to ride in prime and stop jumping red lights.

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FAIL

Re: confident cyclist

You can be both confident and dead.

You'll find that a suitably overlooked motorcycle moving at speed* through a junction at green will do that for you one day. The number of bleedin' cyclists who think, like you, that red lights, give way signs and such are advisory that I've had a "near miss" with while biking through London in the past is quite scary.

*Even at 30mph, taking a 500cc or larger machine in the side is *really* going to ruin your day.

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Finds routes that don't go up hills?

Where's the fun in that then?

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Bronze badge

Improbably geography

"gives priority to downhill routes"

That appears rather clever as I always though the net ascent or descent in a route is dictated solely by the difference in altitude between the start and end points. Whenever I've cycled between two points approximately as the same hight above sea level, I've always been rather of the impression that more downhill has also mean a compensating amount of uphill. As the latter takes rather longer to complete than the former, then the net pain appears to increase.

Personally I've always looked for the routes that involve the least amount of climbing and let the downhill parts sort themselves out. I will now have to search for these legendary downhill all the way routes, especially the circular ones, along with looking for those damned elusive magnetic monopoles.

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Anonymous Coward

Favouring downhills

I'm glad someone else noticed. Neat trick if they can do it, mind - and would make it an app I would pay for!

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Another confident cyclist

As another cycle commuter (OK, not all the time these days) I would say that whilst I understand the issues of cyclist passing through/jumping red lights. It's still not something I would do as it just sets a really bad example and tends to lead to "retaliation" or remonstrations from motorists (I have gone through temporary lights at roadworks however, as there is often room to pass safely inside the cones out of the traffic flow).

A bit more tolerance and understanding of each others views from pedestrians, cyclists, motorists (including taxi & bus drivers etc) is whats really required.

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Ooh Dear, this isn't going to help with the anti-cyclists...

Okay, so I thought I'd try the route planner out and see how it fared against the TfL journey planner. I asked it to advise a route from my office off Regent St in the West End to my house in South London.

Within 200 yards it had directed me over a pavement and down a pedestrianised street, over a pedestrian crossing, and down a pedestrianised alleyway, and then the wrong way down a one way street to St James' Square, and then down the wrong, one-way exit of said square into traffic on Pall Mall. It didn't improve much from there, taking in other one way streets, main roads and frankly lunatic detours and right hand turns on major roads. Absolutely nuts.

Almost as if it had been programmed by a cycle courier or cursed lycra lunatic that is so loathed by the majority of Londoners.

The much maligned TfL Journey Planner is an absolute winner by comparison.

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FAIL

app fail

Just tested the route from my work to home.

Application ignores the mostly flat national cycle route path (on footpath next to a main road) 40 minutes, in favour of the quiet roads that take you up 3 extreemly steep hills (and back down the other side), 240 minutes

App fail.

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Feedback

Can you replan the route at www.cyclestreets.net and hit the feedback button, so we can check for duff data in the area? Sounds like probably a connectivity problem or lack of data in OpenStreetMap, both things we can get corrected.

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Anonymous Coward

Hills

Priority to downhill routes? Kind of silly when your destination is higher than your starting point. Different cyclists have different preferences when it comes to climbing. Some prefer one short sharp climb to a long gentle gradient if they've got to climb at all, some prefer it the other way. Some cyclists would rather add several miles to their journey than endure a few hundred yards of climbing, some would always go for the shorted route.

My home is about 120 metres higher than my place of work. There are various routes which vary from about 250m of climbing to 330m. The my preferred route is the one with the most climbing and it's not the shortest. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I love climbing. It's that, even though it's a couple of miles further there is a lot less traffic and very few busy urban junctions. So it's actually quicker to do it the hard way.

As for safety I'm not convinced that staying away from busy urban roads is safer. IME you're just as likely to get clouted by cars on quiet rural roads, and when you do get hit you'll get hit harder. On these roads traffic tends to be faster, but the roads narrower. As a result car drivers who feel that it is compulsory to pass cyclists as soon as they see them are more likely to make a dangerous move. Cars coming up behind at 60mph only to discover oncoming traffic precludes their passing are more likely to clout you up the chuff than they would at half that speed. Car drivers encountering oncoming traffic when passing a cyclist on a blind crest or bend (a daily occurence) will instinctively swerve into the cyclist to avoid hitting the oncoming traffic.

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