[Tagging] Dispute prevention: meaning of lanes tag

Philip Barnes phil at trigpoint.me.uk
Sat Apr 21 12:23:05 BST 2012

On Sat, 2012-04-21 at 10:19 +0200, Ronnie Soak wrote:

> I would only use a lanes value other than 2 if there are clear road
> markings, signs or it is otherwise very clear that two cars are
> supposed to go in one direction at a time (>=3) 
I am not aware of any special signage on 3 lane roads in the UK. It is
just a knowledge of the highway code that gives you the rules.

        1. Solid double lines on your side mean do not cross, traffic in
        the opposite direction has solo use of the centre lane.
        Also broken line on your side and solid double lines on the
        other side mean your direction has exclusive use of the centre

        2. Broken and solid line on your side, traffic in the opposite
        direction has priority use of centre lane but you can overtake
        if it is clear and nobody is signalling their intent to pull
        out. Usually uphill traffic will have priority in this case.
        3. Both sides have a broken line and have equal priority to use
        the centre lane to overtake. Have not seen one of these for
        However OSM does not allow anything other than tagging as 3
        lanes, so the above is probably irrelevant to OSM tagging.

> or there is no way for two cars to pass without a special (signed)
> passing place (1).
There is always a way. There are lots of single track minor roads, that
have no passing places and high hedges close to the road. Passing can
involve a long reverse and squeeze into a gateway or pull onto any bit
of grass verge that may be there.

Official passing places are also supposed to be used to allow faster
traffic to pass, a rule many city dwellers are totally unaware of, much
to the annoyance of locals. I can remember a public information film, in
the 70s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQZownCGnYg


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