[Tagging] "Feature Proposal - RFC - bicycle=use_cycleway

Pee Wee piewie32 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 13 19:28:14 UTC 2013

Thanks all for your comments. I understand most of the comments made here.
Most of them were discussed on the German
English) and the Dutch
forum <http://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?id=22151>(in Dutch).  I
should have directed you to these links in the first place instead of just
making a reference at the bottom of the Wiki. Sorry for that.

I’ll  get back to the most important issues/ suggestions/ approaches.

Roberts remark about the word “official” is correct. I should have written
“compulsory” instead. That is changed. Sorry for the confusion.

I’ll add a bit more context to this proposal. The main goal is to improve
routing for ordinary bikes but also for other vehicles.  In NL (where I
live) there is a great cycling OSM community and we have many cycleways.
Routing for bicycles was not very good some years ago but when mappers
started adding bicycle=no to both type1 and typ2 roads routing improved a
lot. In fact I think it is almost perfect.  Because I  was facing poor
bicycle routing in Germany I thought it would be good if German mappers
would also add the bicycle=no to both type1 and type2 roads. As you can
read in the linkedthread<http://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?id=21938>to
the German forum there were many that were not convinced that was a
idea (to put it mildly ;-) ).  They convinced me. That was the reason I
proposed a new tag in the NL forum.  I think in general in the NL forum
most understood why there should be a new tag but… the consequence of that
would be that many roads with bicycle=no had to be retagged.  Someone
suggested that I should try and see if the German mappers would adopt this
new tag. That was the reason I teamed up with German mapper Masimaster to
propose the new tag.

I think most mappers agree that it is not wise to just add a bicycle=no to
a road that has no explicit ban for bicycles. The question is how to tag
this road when there is a parallel compulsory cycleway?

Instead of this bicycle=use_cycleway  we could use bicycle=no an
additionally a “my special vehicle/situation=yes”.  There are a few reasons
why I do not think this is a good idea.

1 Mapper are no legal experts

In OSM we rely on mappers and not legal experts. An ordinary mapper in NL
(where I live) does not know what the legal status is of many extraordinary
vehicles and there are many.  I have a 3 wheel velomobile with such
measurements that I am  allowed to ride these type 2 roads (but not the
typ1).  Hardly anyone I speak knows this. I’m also sure they don’t know the
legal status of  horse carriages, skateboards, sedgeways etc. The problem
is that there are no traffic signs for all these exceptional vehicles so
how should a mapper know?

2 too many tags

Imagine that all special vehicles and situations would be tagged.  How
would we see all these tags in the editor. I’m afraid it would be a
complete mess in OSM. Simply to many tags so we loose overview which might
scare mappers away.

3 Changing law needs changing tags

Imagine that in NL law would change in such a way that groups of
race-cyclist of more then 10 are allowed to use the type2 way. Then this
would have to be mapped. Who is going to do this? If we would have the
bicycle=use_cycleway nothing had to be changed.  I think we have to be
carefull with mapping legal access in OSM unless the traffic signs are
obvious. In fact I think that if we map in such a way that we (and routers)
know what traffic sings are present, routing for any vehicle should be
fairly easy.

4 country specific

All the exceptional vehicles and situations vary from country to country.
Imagine tags like “three wheel bicycle wider then .75m=yes” in NL and
“three wheel bicycle with combuston engine > 250Watt=yes”  in an other
coutry.  This is just going to be too much for most mappers. I would not
start mapping these exceptions abroad because I just don’t know all legal

In short:  Mapping this way will never happen in such an extend that it  will
improve routing for bicycles (both ordinary and exceptional ones) .

So all this made me feel it was an illusion to improve bicycle routing by
adding different tags for all these exceptional vehicles/situations. This
could work in theory but it simply will never work in practice

So, it had to be as simple a possible. Something any mapper could see in
reality based on traffic signs and roads and cycleways.  That’s the reason
why we have added a definition of the tag.

Bicycle=use_cycleway means:

This is a road with a classification that allows
*without* a "bicycle forbidden sign" *with* a parallel compulsary cycleway
on which you are supposed to ride your ordinary bicycle.

I hope this gives more context and explains why we’ve come up with this tag.

Cheers PeeWee

2013/11/13 Philip Barnes <phil at trigpoint.me.uk>

> In the UK there is no obligation to use a parallel cycleway, in fact I
> know if roads with both parallel cycleways and cyclelanes.
> Cycleways tend to force the cyclist to give way at ever road junction,
> whereas a cyclist using the road has right of way, and this is obviously
> preferred by many cyclists.
> Phil (trigpoint)
> --
> Sent from my Nokia N9
> On 13/11/2013 10:37 Martin Koppenhoefer wrote:
> 2013/11/13 Colin Smale <colin.smale at xs4all.nl>
>> The law in NL says that "cycles" wider than 75cm are not bound by the
>> "obligation" to follow the "mandatory cycle track" and are allowed on the
>> main carriageway; this includes trikes and some trailers (e.g. for carrying
>> windsurfers). So why not tag the main road to reflect the width limit?
>> bicycle:minwidth=0.75?
> that might fit for the NL, but in Germany the rules are different and more
> vague: you must use the cycleway if it runs along a road and is usable and
> is going where you are going and you are not encumbering other cyclists
> (i.e. big trailer). This is different from a bicycle=no on the road, there
> is no explicit minwidth but special conditions (like ice and snow or litter
> on the cycleway) might also allow you to use the road.
> cheers,
> Martin
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