[Tagging] highway=path for *all* mixed foot/bicycle highways?

Andy Townsend ajt1047 at gmail.com
Mon Jan 27 20:42:16 UTC 2020

On 27/01/2020 17:19, Dave F via Tagging wrote:
> On 27/01/2020 16:41, Mike Thompson wrote:
>> I have never understood the use of tags like "cycleway", "bridleway", 
>> and
>> "footway."  To me these mix two different concepts (physical form and 
>> legal
>> access) in a single tag.
> These values do not indicate a way's form. That is achieved with 
> secondary, adjective tags such as segregated/width/surface/smoothness 
> etc.
Sure they do - by inference at least.

If a "cyclebridlefootpath"* was constructed "mainly for cycle traffic" 
than it'll tend to have a certain form.  It'll probably not have a 
surface of lumpy rocks.  Something constructed "mainly for horse 
traffic" won't have stiles (other than horse stiles) on it.  Of course, 
it absolutely makes sense to add secondary tags such as surface etc. as 
well.  It's not guaranteed that "everywhere in the world a cycleway will 
have this physical form" but if you know what the norm is for things 
constructed for cycle traffic in whatever country you're in, you've got 
an idea what to expect, even without extra tags.

Re access, in England, I'd also always add access tags where possible 
too, since unlike some other places, there's nothing like 
"allemansrätten" here, and it's quite possible for access to be 
"permissive" or "no" rather than "yes", and where access is "yes" it's 
useful to know why (here usually some other legal designation that 
confers that access).

To get back to the main question, the advice I'd give to people mapping 
cyclebridlefootpaths in their local country is "do whatever other people 
in your country do".  That might vary between "use highway=path for 
almost everything**" and "use duck tagging - pick what something most 
resembles", but if someone follows the local herd at least other people 
locally should understand what they mean.

Best Regards,


* one of any of what anyone might tag as highway=cycleway, 
highway=bridleway, highway=footway, highway=path.

** obviously highway=path with no other tags is pretty useless - there 
are no clues about either access or form there at all.

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