[Tagging] Cycle lanes & cycle tracks - my findings and a proposal

fly lowflight66 at googlemail.com
Sun May 27 17:13:15 BST 2012

On 26/05/12 16:03, Rob Nickerson wrote:
> Hi All,
> Sorry for the late reply after starting this thread a few days ago.
> I was surprised to see how far this topic has expanded (even into OSM should
> have fault lines so we can re-align after earthquakes!), so I just want to
> refocus on cycling.

Think you forgot to mention the reason which might be an extra point on your recape.

0. lane/street model
The problems are related to the lane problem as even footways/sidewarks and
cycletracks are lanes and it was proposed to find an overall solution.

> 2. The cycleway=* tag
> The current cycleway tag attempts to cater for both of these and as a result it
> is not particularly clear for new users. I believe the fact that renderers and
> routing software haven't picked up the cycleway tag with any widespread
> enthusiasm is evidence that improvements can be made.


> 3. So what is important
> For a cyclist I feel that the most important thing is "I am travelling from A to
> B with my child. How _safe_ is it for cyclists? Will there be cycle lanes and/or
> cycle tracks to use in the _direction_ of my travel?"
> Based on this question the useful things to know are:
> * Direction
> * Safety
> 3a. Cycle LANES
> By having a tag specifically for cyclelanes we can indicate both direction and
> type of lane (an partial indication of safety). For example:
> highway=secondary
> cyclelane:forward=share_busway
> cyclelane:backward=advisory

What is the difference to cycleway:forward=lane/shared/track

Note: Talking about the law in Germany, the cyclelane in opposite to the
cycletrack  will always be advisory.

> 3b. Cycle TRACKS
> As these are physically separate from the other lanes of the main roadway (and
> therefore a cyclist is not free to switch back and forth between cycle track and
> roadway), my personal preference is to map them as a separate way.
> Our German mappers raised the concern that cyclists must use the cycletrack and
> are not allowed to use the roadway unless the cycletrack is obstructed, for
> example. They have pointed out that they do not like the use of bicycle=no on
> the main highway as cyclists are not legally banned from using the road in all
> circumstances. Although I think they are being hopeful that bicycle=no is only
> being used when it is illegal, can I suggest bicycle=secondary,
> bicycle=non-primary, or bicycle=alternative for this case

Finding a new access-tag might work.

> (another suggestion already made is bicycle=destination)?

Does not work as it covers only on off the acceptions.

> For cases where it is difficult to draw a separate way then consider:
> highway=secondary
> cycletrack:left=two-way


Note: In Germany, if not explicit stated differently, it is illegal to use a
cycletrack on the left side of the road. This also counts for mixed
cycle-/footways along side the road in urban areas.

By the way I just read a judgement of the highest court in Germany from one and
a half years ago, which says that 60-80% of the german advised cycletracks are
illegal and need to be changed. The easiest way to accomblish this is to take of
the traffic signs and only allow cyclists to use the footway. This means you we
have situations with former cycleways which will still persist and you are
allowed to use them but you do not have to.


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