[Tagging] difference between cycletrack and cycleway

Paul Johnson baloo at ursamundi.org
Tue Apr 19 01:27:07 BST 2011

On 04/18/2011 08:31 AM, Sander Deryckere wrote:
> This mail is about the different (and incompatible) usages of the tag
> "highway=cycleway"
> When the OSM data is less complete, the tag combination
> highway=primary/secondary/tertiary
> cycleway=track
> is used. For a road with a cycleway.
> This means that there is a track next to the road that has to be used
> for cycling. 

Rather, as part of the same roadway.  See
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCjw8WXMtEg#t=0m17s for an example of a
cycle track as part of the same way (I cued the video to start as the
cyclist is entering the track where it transitions from a bicycle lane;
the video ends when he reaches where the track transitions back to a
bicycle lane, starting at
 If the track is separated from the rest of traffic by more than an open
median and possibly some parking (such as a closed median, wall, curb,
or other permanently installed obstacle or barrier), then I'd make it a
separate way.  Oddly enough, cycle tracks do not currently render on the
cycle map.

> When you want to be more precise, you can map 2 (or 3) ways
> and tag the highway as
> highway=primary/secondary/tertiary
> and the cycle tracks next to it as
> highway=cycleway

I would only do this if it's physically on it's own roadway removed from
the rest of traffic.  Good example would be the Interstate Drawbridge
for one-way cycleways.

Video example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5G9USubjmw
Starts at:

Or on the Glenn L Jackson Memorial Bridge.

Video example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5TYlJ7xD50
Starts at:
(going northbound, and it is easily possible to hit that speed limit on
a bicycle, and I'm not sure why he's stationary to start with since
that's a no-u-turn, no-stopping zone on the cycleway; and it's 2.7 miles
long, not 1 like the videographer states).

> The problem with this tagging method is that the tag "highway=cycleway"
> is now used for two completely different features. A cycle track next to
> a road is something completely different from a cycleway where there is
> no other traffic around.

I've noticed that, too, I usually explain the distinction between a
cycleway and a path is that if it's got traffic control devices (lane
markings, signage, etc) and isn't normally open to motorists, it's a
cycleway; if it lacks traffic control devices like you find in most
parks, it's a path.

> from the bicycle routers point of view:
> with the less complete date, a primary road is avoided (even when it has
> a cycleway) in favor of a quiet (unclassified) road. When the data
> becomes more complete, the primay way suddenly becomes "better" than the
> unclassified.

Any decent routing engine worth using is going to be able to heat-seek a
road with a bike lane or a cycleway over a primary without bicycle
facilities without resorting to funky relations.

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