[Talk-us] Bike route relation issues

Kerry Irons irons54vortex at gmail.com
Mon Jan 12 12:36:42 UTC 2015

As a general rule, bicycles are prohibited from freeways in the US "east of
the Mississippi" and allowed on rural freeways in the west.  Of course this
is a very broad definition and only a starting point for understanding.  The
key point is that people "in the east" often assume that bicycles are never
allowed on freeways because they have never seen it, while people "in the
west" assume that bicycles are allowed unless specifically prohibited.  This
results in confusion, to say the least.  


To deal with this you need to have the understanding of the general
principles and then you have to actually know the local conditions.



Kerry Irons


From: John F. Eldredge [mailto:john at jfeldredge.com] 
Sent: Monday, January 12, 2015 12:43 AM
Cc: talk-us at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [Talk-us] Bike route relation issues


By contrast, I am not aware of any Interstate highways in the southeast USA
that allow bicycles. From my experience, every entrance ramp has signs
forbidding non-motorized traffic and mopeds.

John F. Eldredge -- john at jfeldredge.com
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot
drive out hate; only love can do that." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

On January 11, 2015 8:10:04 PM stevea <steveaOSM at softworkers.com> wrote:

On Sun, Jan 11, 2015 at 1:54 PM, stevea <steveaOSM at softworkers.com> wrote:

I do not agree:  again, I find no evidence (from the Oregon DOT map) that
bicycles are explicitly designated "legal" on I-5.  It may be the case that
explicit statute specifies bicycles are allowed on I-5 in Oregon, but this
map does not explicitly do so.  Again, please note that no specific "bike
routes" are designated on that map, either.  It simply displays some
highways as Interstates and some highways as containing wide shoulders or
narrow shoulders.  While not complaining about Oregon's DOT helping
bicyclists better understand where they might or might not ride a bicycle in
that state, I characterize these map data as "early" or "underdeveloped"
w.r.t. helpful "bicycle routing" by a DOT.

Oregon and Washington allow all modes on all routes unless otherwise posted.
They have to explicitly sign exclusions, and they do.  Here's the list for



And Washington:




My previous post was California centric, going too far assuming for other
states.  (And fifty-at-a-time only in certain circumstances).


A starting place (properly placed in the locus of each state, with
perspective as a router might parse logic and build a routing set...) is the


For 100% of ways with tag highway, set bicycle legality_status = "legal."
(This keeps "everything still in the running.")  Now, apply a per-state rule
(could be a table lookup, could be a smarter data record):


With both Washington and Oregon:

    exclude from our data set ways where helpful OSMers have tagged


With California:

    exclude from our data set ways tagged highway=motorway,

    add to the set cycleways and highways tagged bicycle=yes.


We are right in the middle of "fifty ways of calculating a set."  Those
target objects might be elements of a bicycle route.  As we get the tags
right (critical, on the data and "at the bottom") we must also treat the
rules of what we seek from those data as critical, too (from the top, down).
It's reaching across and shaking hands with a protocol, or a stack of
protocols.  It's data, syntax and semantics.  When the sentence is
grammatical (tags are correct for a parser), it clicks into place with the
correct answer (renders as we wish).


For the most part, we get it right.  But we do need to understand the whole
stack of what we do every once in a while, and pointing out "data in
California, treat like this, data in Oregon, Washington..., treat like
that..." is helpful to remember.  Can we get to a place where everybody can
do things (tag) "just right for them" and have it always work (render),
everywhere every time?  Mmmmm, not without documentation and perhaps
conversations like this.


This is why documenting what we do and how we do it (and referring to the
documentation, and trying to apply it strictly, unless it breaks, then
perhaps talk about it and even improve it...) is so important.


Listen, build, improve, repeat.  Thank you (Paul, for your specific answer,
as well as others for participating).




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