App aims to make biking better

With the app, bicyclists click on a map to plan their trips. (Courtesy of Bike Planner)

WASHINGTON – A new tech tool may make biking easier.

Bikers will still have to pedal to get from point to point, but now they can check ahead of time to see if their route is hilly or includes a shortcut. Or, they can stick to routes that feel safer to most cyclists.

The tool is Bike Planner, designed by Kevin Webb, who co-directs the transportation group at Open Plans, a non-profit that works with cities to build technology for transportation purposes. With Bike Planner, cyclists can check their phones before saddling up for a commute, to run errands or to squeeze in a workout.

Webb explains that it really does include a tool that lets users choose: Do you want to find the fastest or flattest way? Or do you have a need to stick to routes that are less heavily traveled, or just feel safer?

Bike Planner has just been launched, and Webb says he expects the map will improve as users provide feedback. Webb says launching the site in the D.C. area was a logical choice, since there’s a growing cycling population and the infrastructure for bikes is expanding.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow Kate and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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