Pokemon

Should Pokemon Go track bike km for egg hatching?

by Paul Cotton

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Pokemon Go trainers walk tens of kilometers a week in order to hatch eggs but should cyclists be able to do the same?

One Redditor has raised this question after feeling aggrieved that their 22km didn't count towards their distance traveled in Pokemon Go. This particular example is the tip of the iceberg though, as another trainer commented that they regularly ride in excess of 150km. "I ride close to 100 [miles] every week [and] I don't even bother turning the game on anymore."

This means despite exercising and smashing the weekly target of 50km, they won't receive any rewards. Is this fair though and should Niantic allow cycling distance to count towards eggs? It is a complicated question.

@PokemonGoApp
@PokemonGoApp
It's hard to go faster than walking pace to hatch eggs...

The reason biking distance isn't calculated in the first place is because there is a speed limit in Pokemon Go that contributes towards distance. That speed limit is reportedly 10.5 km/h (or 6.5 mph).

That limit is as low as it is to remove egg hatching distance accumulated via travel in vehicles. This is important as trainers could potentially garner hundreds of kilometers a week, essentially negating the work of trainers who are walking.

Niantic has openly stated their mission is "exploration, exercise, and social interaction." There's little doubt encouraging players to walk to hatch eggs is part of this.

This doesn't explain why cyclists aren't rewarded with kilometers though, as of course, Niantic would logically want to encourage exercise. The answer lies in the speed of cycling. In a lot of circumstances, especially with cyclists using roads more and more, you can ride a bike faster than a car.

autotrader.ca - Simon Hill
autotrader.ca - Simon Hill
You won't hatch eggs when driving in Pokemon Go...

There is also the notable issue of Niantic not wanting to encourage those driving cars and riding bikes to play Pokemon Go at the same time. It can be hard enough to walk and play the game, let alone negotiating your way through traffic in a vehicle. This is before the legal ramifications are considered, too.

Obviously Niantic is unable to increase the speed, otherwise, Pokemon Go trainers traveling in cars would accumulate hundreds of kilometers without walking at all.

Many will argue the speed limit is harsh but it is essential to encourage traveling on foot. Some have noted that even jogging isn't tracked by Pokemon Go. Most people will jog under the limit but there are some who will exceed it.

Even among those who don't, Pokemon Go's tracking of distance isn't perfect. It measures the distance you have traveled by logging your position at particular times. The result of this is you will earn the distance between these recorded points. 

This means distance traveled in between these points won't be considered and the km added to your total will be as the crow flies.

There is a good argument that cyclists should be given the distance they have traveled and rewarded as such. However, it just isn't feasible to increase the current speed limit, so don't expect to be rewarded for cycling any time soon.