[Tagging] Usefulness of bicycle=dismount on ways

Robert Whittaker (OSM lists) robert.whittaker+osm at gmail.com
Fri Oct 11 10:53:04 UTC 2013

On 10 October 2013 15:28, fly <lowflight66 at googlemail.com> wrote:
> +1 for a separate tag and deprecating  bicycle=dismount

To make the case for this clearer, consider the following. There are
four combinations of access for bicycles and cyclists, depending on
whether you are allowed to cycle and/or allowed to
push a bike:

(a) Cycling and pushing both allowed
(b) Cycling allowed, but pushing not allowed
(c) Cycling not allowed, but pushing is allowed
(d) Neither cycling nor pushing allowed

I beleive all of these combinations are possible in real life. In the
UK (a) would be a normal cycleway that's shared with pedestrians, (b)
could occur on a cycleway that's only for cyclists (i.e. no
pedestrians allowed), (c) would be the case of (e.g.) a narrow bridge
on a cycle route, where "dismount" signs are shown, or a typical
pedestrian shopping street with "no cycling" signs, and (d) would be
an area/route explicitly signed as e.g. "no bicycles not even pushed"
(Oxford University Parks used to be like this until a couple of years

Clearly if you are travelling with a bike you would want to
distinguish between at least (a)/(b) vs. (c) vs. (d), to determine
where you can go with your bike and at what pace.

Currently the tagging used is bicycle=yes/no/dismount. The problem
with this is that while bicyle=dismount unambiguously indicates (c),
people have used bicycle=no for both (c) and (d) -- interpreting it as
either "no cycling" or "no bicycles". Also (although less importantly)
using bicycle=yes offers no way to explicitly distinguish between
cases (a) and (b).

I would therefore propose a new access tag be introduced to capture
information about whether pushing a bike is allowed. I'll call this
bicycle_pushed for now, but the actual name is something that can  be
discussed and agreed upon later.

With this tag and the existing bicycle=* access tag (whose values are
now taken, as I believe was originally intended, to apply to 'cycling'
rather than 'bicycles'), it is now possible to unambiguously
distingiush between the four cases above:

(a) bicycle=yes + bicycle_pushed=yes
(b) bicycle=yes + bicycle_pushed=no
(c) bicycle=no + bicycle_pushed=yes
(d) bicycle=no + bicycle_pushed=no

bicycle=dismount is then deprecated, and the same information captured
by using bicycle=no + bicycle_pushed=yes (i.e. no cycling, but you can
push your bike).

For actual tagging use, It might be worth considering that whether, in
the absense of a bicycle_pushed tag, the presense of foot=yes implies
you can push a bicycle on that route -- which is probably a sensible
default in most of the world. Although we would have to think
carefully about how to handle the case of people who have previously
tagged bicycle=no to indicate case (d).


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