Australian cyclists will get turn-by-turn directions to their destinations – as well as warnings about routes with punishing hills – in a major update to Apple’s mapping app.

The tech giant will launch cycling directions to users around the country on Friday, including detailed information on bike paths, bike lanes and high-traffic routes.

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Australia will be just the fourth country to access the technology after the US, UK and Canada.

WeRide Australia executive officer Peter Bourke said millions of Australians could benefit from the update, including a growing number of e-bike and e-scooter users, but warned Apple would need to take on feedback from riders to ensure its popularity.

The Apple Maps upgrade, available on iPhones and iPads, will let users select a cycling option when searching for directions, suggesting “routes on bike paths, bike lanes and bike-friendly roads”.

Users will also be shown elevation and traffic information about routes, so they can avoid steep climbs and busy areas, and will be prompted to dismount their bicycles at risky intersections.

Cycling directions will also be offered as announcements or as icons on Apple Watches.

The detailed Apple upgrade will arrive years after cycling directions were added to rival navigation app Google Maps, which introduced the option in 2012.

Bourke said Australia’s cyclists would welcome the new service and recognition that “what makes a good journey for car drivers is different for bike riders”.

He said companies including Apple and Google needed to take care when offering cycling routes as they were often the first call for new cyclists who needed greater guidance to stay safe on roads.

“If they are sent down a road that may be the quickest way to get somewhere by car, but not the safest, it may be the last time that person chooses to ride,” Bourke said.

“As long as they accept on-the-ground improvements and feedback, we welcome any of these companies that are doing it.”

Other updates to Apple Maps launching on Friday will include more lane guidance at intersections and greater detail in NSW and Victorian landmarks, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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