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This Bike Lane Map Makes It Easier for You to Plot Your Next Ride

The open map makes it easy for cyclists to share info on new bike lanes, repair shops, and hazards.
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Since last year's lockdown limited access to public transportation, more and more people have been switching to biking as an alternative to get around the city. And in response, the government has been adding new bike lanes all over the metropolis. 

While in other countries you can simply look up biking directions on Google Maps, for some reason this feature isn't available in the Philippines yet. Thankfully, Filipino mappers and cycling advocates are filling in the gap with their own open source maps.

Whether you're just getting into cycling or are a seasoned bike commuter, this nifty Open Bike Lane and Bike Hazard Map makes it easy for you to plan your next journey. It shows bike lanes, repair stations, shops, and parking spaces.

Since it's an open map, anyone can easily update it anytime they see a new bike lane or notice one that hasn't been mapped yet.

Photo by SCREENSHOT.
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It also has a hazard map where you can alert fellow cyclists to obstructions, flooding, poor road conditions, etc.

Photo by SCREENSHOT.

You can update the map anonymously, or log in with an e-mail to have your contributions attributed to you. If you add temporary hazards like flooding or accidents, creating an account will allow you to remove them once the obstruction is gone.

The map was created on Canvis by Mikko Tamura of OpenStreetMap Philippines and Map Beks. Nick Tobia, an open data advocate and cyclist, collaborated with Tamura by giving his input and connected Tamura with cycle advocates like Keisha Mayuga of Life Cycles PH and Aldrin Pelicano of MNL Moves.

If you want information on the quality of bike lanes, you can also check out Jesus Israel Jr.'s bike lane map on Google My Maps. It grades bike lanes as “usable,” “moderately usable,” and “almost unusable.” 

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While other bike maps like CyclOSM already exist, contributing to them requires a bit of a learning curve. Tamura wanted to create a map that would be easy for cyclists to update even if they didn't know how to code. As an open data advocate, Tobia hopes that as OpenStreetMap Philippines members take info from the Bike Lane Map and add it to OpenStreetMap, eventually Google will see the data and add it to Google Maps. 

Tobia stresses that these maps depend on contributions from cyclists, and the ultimate goal is to generate as much information as possible. “My message for anyone willing to contribute to it [is] to just do it even if there are inaccuracies and mistakes. Take photos, [then] map and upload [your] photos at home.” 

With various groups making their own bike lane maps, it's clear that interest in biking as mode of transportation is growing. After all, not only do you bypass traffic, you can avoid the crowding at bus and train stations as well. We certainly hope more people decide to use cycling as a way to get around the city. And as more people get into bike commuting, we can chip in to help them find the safest bike trips.

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Angelica Gutierrez
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