Gear and kit

Google Maps Motorcycle Mode starts to roll out

Bikers wondering when Google Maps might release a motorcycle mode have been given a boost by the launch of the service across South East Asia.

Google officially launched its motorcycle mode for Google Maps users last week in South East Asia. Following an initial trial in the world’s largest motorcycle market, India, the service is now rolling out to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

If the rollout is as successful as the trial, the motorcycle mode is expected to be seen soon in both Europe and the US, as the Google-owned Waze app already offers a global motorcycle mode, which was released towards the end of 2017. When launching that feature, Waze confirmed arrival times for motorcycles, “vary greatly from automobile ETA’s” (Estimated Time of Arrival).



Navigation by landmarks as well as roads

The navigation in Asia differs from the standard Google Maps driving mode by offering additional directions based on landmarks, including hospitals and hotels. Launching the new motorcycle mode, Google Maps’ head of product Krish Vitaldevara said the goal is for drivers to read through the directions first to help memorise the route before they start navigating. This makes it safer than motorcyclists continually referring to a smartphone screen.

motorcycle mode

Using landmarks gets around another issue in Asia: Many roads and alleyways in the region do not have actual names. The navigation also includes routes that cannot be accessed by larger vehicles.

As reported by The Verge website, the motorcycle mode is currently only offered on the Android mobile app. No official announcement has been made on the release of iOS or web versions; however these are more likely with a global rollout – iOS has a better foothold in English-speaking countries, compared to 80-90% domination of the market by Android in most of Asia, South America and Continental Europe.

Get yourself sorted:

Once Motorcycle Mode does become available in the UK, you will still need to keep your hands off the screen when you’re on the move: https://www.bikerandbike.co.uk/using-screen-based-devices-on-motorbikes/

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B&B Staff

B&B Staff