The Waze GPS app has added an option for motorcycle-specific navigation.
Why does this matter? What makes Waze different from other free smartphone navigation apps? Waze has features that sets it apart. It’s owned by Google, and uses Google Maps information, instead of being based around Open Street Maps data.
But unlike Google Maps, Waze is specifically aimed at vehicle-based commuters (not pedestrians or public transit users, like Google Maps). It collects and compares information from traffic news broadcasters as well as individual app users to determine the quickest way to get to your destination. Several websites break down the differences between the apps here.
According to the app’s website, “Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute.”
But previously, the app simply had car-centric navigation only; if you were on a motorcycle, you were stuck being routed the same path as a car, despite the fact that a motorcycle has advantages or disadvantages over a car in some traffic situations. Specifically, in most jurisdictions, a motorcycle is allowed to use a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane, same as commuters with multiple passengers (of course, this isn’t the case in Ontario).
Want to try it out? Waze is available for free for both Android devices and iOS-enabled phones. Get yourself a smartphone mount for your motorcycle handlebar, and you’ve got yourself a GPS navigation device that didn’t cost you anything.