[Tagging] bicycle=no

Mike Harris mikh43 at googlemail.com
Tue Dec 8 17:41:16 GMT 2009

The main area of interest here is not vehicular roads but off-road ways that have varied legal status - bearing in mind that in England and Wales we - sadly - do not have a general 'right to roam' (except on limited areas of access land) and in a crowded country where almost all land is owned by someone the only off-road routes where people have a 'right' to go are the so-called 'public rights of way' - all else is either 'permissive' (relatively unusual) or a case of trespass (at least) and grounds for being sued (or at least expelled). So recording where there are rights is not only useful it is also a useful way helping to preserve these rights (constantly under threat as the country gets even more crowded and the countryside ever more encroached upon).

It is for these reasons that local highway authorities maintain the information and hold it in the public domain (a legal obligation on them to do so). I realise - having lived in three countries and being reasonably well travelled - that this is almost unique to England and Wales. However, so long as the tagging we use here does not cause any major problems elsewhere I would defend the utility of our doing so!

It is this philosophy - coupled with a lot of the discussion that has taken place previously in OSM lists - that leads me to conclude that it is (a) best to separate the legal from the on-the-ground pragmatic - but to include the legal where we can and (b) therefore to use different tags for the two aspects. Hence my current practice (subject to change in the light of further wisdom from this discussion) is to use highway = footway / cycleway etc. without any necessarily legal implications and to reserve designation = for the local name for the legal status (with acknowledgment to Richard Mann, who has usefully just added the concept of 'local name' for the value of the tag to the concept of using the 'designation' tag.

Mike Harris

> -----Original Message-----
> From: tagging-bounces at openstreetmap.org 
> [mailto:tagging-bounces at openstreetmap.org] On Behalf Of Andre Engels
> Sent: 08 December 2009 11:45
> To: Tag discussion, strategy and related tools
> Subject: Re: [Tagging] bicycle=no
> On Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 11:57 AM, Roy Wallace 
> <waldo000000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Isn't this what Mike was referring to when he said "... access to 
> > non-copyright information on legal status ... is reasonably 
> available 
> > in the public domain in England and Wales" ?
> So there are actually law books there that say "road 
> so-and-so may be / may not be cycled on"? And are you 
> supposed to carry that law book with you if you get to a new 
> city to decide whether or not you are allowed to take that 
> shortcut there?
> > Andre are you saying that bicycle=yes/no should *only* be used when 
> > there is a corresponding sign on the ground?
> No, on the contrary. I think we should use whatever clue is 
> available as to the intention of the road owner of what kind 
> of transportation the road is meant for. But I do this with 
> clues on and around the road itself. A sign to me is merely a 
> very clear and (usually) definitive and unambiguous clue. As 
> such, I see no need to give it a category of its own.
> --
> André Engels, andreengels at gmail.com
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