[Tagging] what is the meaning of bicycle=yes on highway=path

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Fri Apr 12 13:47:53 UTC 2019

"an armchair mapper should add access=unknown to the tagging"

I certainly don't do this when mapping from aerial imagery, and
neither of the editors that I've used (ID and JOSM) have suggest
adding "access=unknown" to a newly mapped path.

My understanding is that highway=path is rather problematic if there
are no additional tags, because it's not clear if all paths are open
to bicycles or horses. See

And https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:highway%3Dpath says:

"highway=path is a generic path, either multi-use or unspecified
usage, open to all non-motorized vehicles and not intended for
motorized vehicles unless tagged so separately. The path may have any
type of surface."

"This includes walking and hiking trails, bike trails and paths, horse
and stock trails, mountain bike trails as well as combinations of the

"This tag is used for paths for which all and any of highway=footway,
highway=cycleway and highway=bridleway would be inappropriate or
inadequate (or simply not sufficient), but which are nonetheless
usable for travel or navigation. They might be not intended for any
particular use, or intended for several different uses. Intended uses
can be indicated with the various access keys; e.g.,
bicycle=designated and foot=designated."

On 4/12/19, Volker Schmidt <voschix at gmail.com> wrote:
> @Mateusz
> I just got alerted that you added a paragraph on the wiki Page
> OSM_tags_for_routing/Access-Restrictions
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_tags_for_routing/Access-Restrictions)>
> in which you state:
> " Note that explicit tagging of access repeating what following tables
> imply may be still useful. For example bare highway
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:highway>=path
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:highway%3Dpath> may mean either
> "surveyed and all defaults apply" or "mapped from LIDAR, not surveyed, may
> be private". In contrast highway
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:highway>=path
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:highway%3Dpath> + foot
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:foot>=yes
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:foot%3Dyes> + bicycle
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:bicycle>=yes
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:bicycle%3Dyes> is more clear what
> is its meaning."
> I do not agree with that statement. If highway
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:highway>=path
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:highway%3Dpath> has the default
> implied access values foot <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:foot>=
> yes <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:foot%3Dyes> + bicycle
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:bicycle>=yes
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:bicycle%3Dyes> (and horse=yes)
> then that means that an armchair mapper should add access=unknown to the
> tagging.
> BTW foot <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:foot>=yes
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:foot%3Dyes> + bicycle
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:bicycle>=yes
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:bicycle%3Dyes> and horse=yes may
> also be interpreted as "iD mapper has ticked all fields"
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