[Tagging] Tagging highway=cycleway without explicit knowledge of the law?

Roy Wallace waldo000000 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 14 09:00:08 GMT 2009

On Mon, Dec 14, 2009 at 4:14 PM, Steve Bennett <stevagewp at gmail.com> wrote:
> The big problem here is that it is completely at odds with what
> renderers support, and what the rest of the world is/has been doing.

Fair points, I guess, but I don't think they're big disadvantages.
Firstly, we're not going to get anywhere if we are bound by what the
renderers *currently* support - and keep in mind that they can catch
up very quickly if necessary. As for "what the rest of the world
is/has been doing", haven't they been using footway/cycleway etc with
various meanings, hence causing this problem? I think any proposed
solution *that will work* must indeed by "at odds" with the current
situation. That said, I think the proposal would be quite easy to
transition to - the main difference is explicitly qualifying what is
meant by "yes/no", and deprecating the inconsistent and confusing
usage of footway/cycleway.

> What's worse, by using "path", you're taking over a tag currently used
> primarily to indicate unpaved hiking paths.

I disagree - from the wiki: highway=path is "a route open to the
public which is not intended for motor vehicles with four or more
wheels". I think highway=path is perfect. It's plain English.

> How about:
> highway=shared_use (or mup [multi-use path] or shared_path)
> The point is that these paths generally feature some level of bicycle
> and pedestrian use.

I don't see any need for this. Why are you mapping "some level
of...use?". This is not explicit. If you must, this should be
explicitly indicated with highway=path + bicycle:usage=some +

> "bicycle:legal=yes/no" - I guess, are there just these two values? Speed limits?

I think two values is sufficient, and is consistent with current
practice. For speed limits, use maxspeed (you might be interested in

> "bicycle:signed=yes/no" - seems ok. Although you have the burden of
> verifying whether each section is signed. And if there's an entry
> midway along a section that is signed at each end - is it really
> "signed"? Petty matters though.

Yup, petty :)

> "bicycle:suitable=yes/no" - definitely want a sliding scale here.

Sure, go for it (I never map "suitability", but if you must... :P)

> "designation=*" - what kind of values do you have here?

Values are jurisdiction-dependent. At this stage I think this is
mainly used in the UK (?) where they have access to legal documents
that say e.g. this is "an XYZ-type path", etc. (see

> I would still suggest that in addition to that, there would be:
> bicycle=yes/no. If you want to map all the fine detail, do so. But
> don't expect all software to process it all. Give them a hint with
> this handy tag: "Given this mapper's unstated knowledge of the legal
> and physical attributes of this path, this mapper's opinion is that
> bicycles can use it".

Hmm. I see your point, but I don't like your definition. If anything,
bicycle=yes/no should keep its current definition, i.e., equivalent to
bicycle:legal=yes/no (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:access).
If you want to invent a tag that refers to "the mapper's opinion" (!),
then I would recommend using bicycle:Steve's_opinion=yes. :P

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