What Cycling Speed Does Google Maps Use

Google Maps usually assumes that you are moving at an average speed of about 16km/hr or about 10 mph. 

Note that Google Maps usually will not take into account the length of the journey or times you may take for refreshments checking directions or any other distractions. Still, it does take into account things such as traffic stops, rail crossings, and traffic lights.

However, it is the experience of many people that they tend to finish their ride before their Google Maps Estimated time of arrival (ETA). The reason for this is that there are many other factors at play that Google Maps may not take into account. 

How Accurate are Google Maps Cycling Directions

Google Maps tends to be quite accurate when it comes to offering directions. However, it is important to remember that it is not perfect and hence you should double-check the route just to be sure. 

Google Tends to be accurate when it comes to:

Average Times

Google Maps will often provide cycling directions and provide an estimation of your ETA. If you are a relatively fit cyclist, you may find the ETA times to be quite slow. 

For instance, Google Maps may estimate a hilly 30-mile ride to take three hours at 10 miles an hour which can be fine if you are on a mountain bike but if you are on a road bike you can do it at an average speed of between 14 to 16 miles an hour.


One of the best things about Google Maps is that it will recommend routes that avoid heavy traffic such as interstate and divided highways on which bikes may not be allowed. 

Overall using Google Maps offers the best routes particularly when you are not too familiar with an area. You can always zoom into the map and find alternative routes other than the first route that was presented by the app.

What Speed is Google Maps Based On?

Google Maps makes use of Global Positioning System (GPS) data from the phones using Google Maps to estimate the speed and movement of traffic in real-time. 

The data is what Google used to make an ETA estimate as it will increase average speeds when traffic conditions are clear and increase speeds when there is high traffic. 

Google Maps also makes use of historical traffic patterns and posted speed limits in its estimtion of ETAs. 

When you first enter your destination into the App, the original ETA has to do with the distance between your starting point and the destination, current traffic conditions, and posted speed limits.

Once you start the ride, the app will usually update your ETA and average cycling speed based on a combination of these factors.

How Do I Use Google Maps to Ride a Bike?

If you have been intending to become more environmentally conscious or just need to get some exercise, you can use Google Maps to go almost anywhere you want in the United States. 

Here is how you can use Google Maps to ride a bike:

  1. Go to Google Maps at http://maps.google.com.
  2. Select Get Directions.
  3. Type your starting address into field A.
  4. Type your destination into field B.
  5. Click Bicycling on the dropdown menu.
  6. Click Get Directions.
  7. Click on your chosen route. Google Maps will usually suggest several, in order from shortest to longest trip. Some routes may take slightly longer but may be preferable for other reasons, such as avoiding rough terrain or busy intersections.
  8. Customize the route by dragging the blue line (your bike route) wherever you want to move it to 

The Google Map usually color codes the routes as follows:

  • Dark green lines are trails specifically designed and set aside for cycling
  • Bike lanes on city streets are marked with light green lines 
  • Dashed green lines are other recommended routes for cyclists

In addition to being able to see the bike route on the map a cyclist can also:

  • Check the left of the map for step-by-step directions to your destination
  • Select Street View to switch between aerial view and street-level view
  • Click Local Search to find places where you can get your bike repaired or take pit stops.

You can also explore all manner of bike paths in the area by going to the More Menu.

Is Google Maps Good for Cycling?

Google Maps is great for cycling as it offers multiple routes for your ride in addition to estimates of how long it is going to take. 

That being said Google Maps is not perfect as its ETAs are not always uniform given that they are not geared toward specific factors such as traffic or weather or to indivual cyclists.

Nonetheless, it is a pretty reliable Speed sensor app that is continually adding improvements that will over the long term make it a better app as compared to other apps such as Bike Citizens and Apple Maps.