[Tagging] Access restrictions for shoulder lanes?

Paul Johnson baloo at ursamundi.org
Mon Feb 9 10:32:36 UTC 2015


On Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 7:00 AM, Bryce Nesbitt <bryce2 at obviously.com> wrote:

> In the USA occasional sections of even Interstate highways are open to
> bicycles,
> where no equivalent route exists. There's some argument to tag these as
> bike paths to avoid the tag soup of lanes,
> and ensure the (unusual) situation is perfectly clear.
>

This is not a sensible assumption and I'm frankly getting a little sick of
having to mythbust this every few weeks just because 98% of America happens
to live next to the few, largely urban, exceptions to the norm.  It's not
anywhere as rare as you make it out to be.  The Federal Highway
Administration indicates that the default for any way in the US unless
otherwise locally defined, even freeways, is bicycle=yes
<http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/design_guidance/freeways.cfm>.
Bicycles even qualify for the HOV lane unless it presents a hazard.

Even in car-centric regions like California, the number of freeway miles
that ban bikes is greatly overshadowed by the vast majority of miles that
go by the default of allowing bicycles.  In my experience, with a few
goofball exceptions largely in the midwest (such as, say, various sections
of US 75, US 412 and (to a far lesser extent) I 40 in Oklahoma that have a
minimum speed limit, yet is the only sensible route and in some cases the
only physically possible route, and thus the ban is both routinely ignored
and rarely enforced for the same reason it isn't enforced on farm equipment
(which poses a far greater hazard as this equipment often spans multiple
lanes) either; however I do try to tag anything that isn't a bike route and
has a minimum speed limit as bicycle=no per Oklahoma's legal idiosyncrasy),
there's very few segments except for the most urban settings where a ban is
even a sensible suggestion in the first place.  Wyoming could be retagged
right now if it isn't already:  There's not one spot in the freeway system
in that state that bans bicycles
<http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/state.cfm?ID=51#state>.

Can we finally bury this myth that bicycle=no is somehow even remotely the
norm for American freeways?  That said, regardless of the restriction, it's
a good idea to tag bicycle=* and foot=* explicitly on trunk and motorway
routes as there still seems to be widespread misconception on this and
could interfere with ideal routing if excluded.
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