[Tagging] highway=track access

Volker Schmidt voschix at gmail.com
Tue May 20 09:57:35 UTC 2014

I would like to add a cyclist's comment for Italy. In the Po valley we have
numerous waterways of all sizes many of which have paths/tracks/roads on
the embankment.
For cyclists there are three kinds of problems, regarding access: one is
legal, the other two are physical:

1) Many have the sign Access forbidden for all vehicles (white disk with
red rim), including bicycles. In practice in most cases bicycles are
tolerated, In many cases even official bicycle routes use such
tracks/roads. There is no consensus, afaik, on how to tag these. I use

2) Many of these tracks are in many points  blocked by barriers, which a
normal cyclist or pedestrian can pass on the side, but where a tandem or a
cycle with trailer (or a wheelchair) does not pass. I try to tag them as
barriers with width indication, but most of them are even not present in
the data.

3) Many cycle paths or cycle-pedestrian paths are blocked by chicane-type
bicycle barriers (barriers of the same type and dimensions that are used
here in Italy to prevent motorcycles from using cycle paths are used
elsewhere, for example in Germany, to prevent bicycles to use a
pedestrian-only path). These barriers are annoying, sometimes dangerous,
but in particular prevent in many cases the passage of tandems and

Apart from that, tracks suffer from a lack of specification in the tags of
their suitability for bicycle use (tracktype, smoothness), but that is
another problem.

> In Italy if I saw a track I would assume that unless there is
> a sign or a gate I would be legally allowed to drive on it,
> but I would probably have no reason to do it, since it would
> only lead to farms or woods, and even if it wasn't a dead end
> there would be a better road to the same destination.
> There are lots of tracks that do have signs and gates preventing
> access to the general public, probably more than other types of
> highway (except maybe residential) but in that case I would expect
> this to be specified on OSM with proper access tags
> As for routing, the consequence of all this is that I would
> expect tracks to be considered for routing (if access keys allows it)
> but only at a very low priority.
> --
> Elena ``of Valhalla''
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> Tagging at openstreetmap.org
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