[OSM-talk] Rendering of footways with bicycle=yes

Mike Harris mikh43 at googlemail.com
Fri May 1 11:56:38 BST 2009

Be careful with "dogging" - it has a quite different meaning in British
English (;>) - on the other hand, I think you did mention it was in Oregon,
so maybe ...

Mike Harris

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Johnson [mailto:baloo at ursamundi.org] 
Sent: 30 April 2009 22:48
To: talk at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [OSM-talk] Rendering of footways with bicycle=yes

Richard Mann wrote:
> It comes down to what you think is meant by "highway=cycleway". If you 
> think that it means a cycle superhighway, then obviously you don't 
> want to apply that to a shared-with-pedestrians route.

Depends on jurisdiction, of course.  One problem OSM has with handling
Oregon and Washington State properly is people are bad about tagging
foot=yes and bicycle=yes to highway types that default to no for those
vehicle classes (since /all/ ways, including motorways, are open to bicycles
and pedestrians unless otherwise posted, in Oregon and Washington State, and
the only ways that commonly disallow pedestrians and bicycles are narrow
tunnels with an alternate route, and ways with no amenities traversing the
desert outback (why would you bike or hike that anyway?)).

Though this particular access restriction peculiarity makes me wonder if
there's hitchhiking= access tags in common use yet, since Washington
prohibits the practice on motorways, but Oregon lets you hitchhike and stop
for hitchhikers anywhere except within about 2km of a prison.

> But cycle superhighways are pretty rare, and "highway=cycleway" is 
> used much more widely than that. I've come to the view that "cycleway" 
> should be used if someone's gone to the trouble to make it good enough 
> to cycle on, and nobody's obviously objecting.

I'll grant that... and highway=cycleway, pedestrian=no is an oddball enough
combination that even where it /is/ a common situation (Interstate NCNs
around Portland), there's still a good chance for bicycle/pedestrian traffic
conflicts because some dork decided a pedestrians-prohibited 14-foot-wide
cycleway hemmed in by two 10-foot-high fences next to a freeway is a nice,
pleasant place to go dogging with a 20-foot-long leash (when it's obviously
a commuter corridor where pedestrians present a real safety hazard to
themselves and others).

> There are people who think calling it a cycleway is somehow 
> anti-pedestrian. I would certainly suggest to renderers that "cycleway"
> may not be the best description - "foot/cycleway" might be better. Do 
> we need to change the word we use for the tag - probably wouldn't be a 
> bad idea, but maybe not a priority.

I'm not sure that's quite the best description, because the designations
aren't interchangeable (some cycleways prohibit pedestrians, most footways
don't allow bicycles).

> Do we need some other way of tagging the cycle superhighways? Maybe.
> Personally I think it's more important to tag the cycle networks 
> (lcn/rcn/ncn), so map-readers and routers will pick out those routes, 
> and avoid the less-suitable (but still accessible) routes. It's also 
> helpful to tag cycle barriers ("barrier=cycle_barrier"), which are 
> widely used to discourage the use of less-suitable (but still
> accessible) routes.

Indeed.  Maximum widths and lengths would be extremely useful at these
barriers as well, in any location where the cycle lane is narrower than the
legally prescribed minimum cycle lane width, or where particularly long
human-powered vehicle combinations (tandem, bike towing trailer, third wheel
"pusher" kid seats, surreys) would have difficulty negotiating the obstacle.

I can think of a number of spots on cycleways in Beaverton that prohibit
pedestrians, but have overzealous anti-motorist measures, the most common of
which being gaps in fences at school boundaries intended to get cyclists
down to walking speed (as the gap is barely wider than
handlebars) but do a better job at hamstringing inexperienced riders,
surreys and bicycle trailers.  The most extreme of which appear at some
intersections built in the late 1960s, which feature an offset gap around
shin high with entry and exit turns that are frequently too sharp for an
unencumbered bicycle longer than 4 feet to make the turns without having to
get up and just carry it over the barrier (equal call in that area whether
it was NIMBYs annoyed about the prospect of having bicycle traffic on their
back fencelines, or simply the work of a civil engineer who hasn't seen a
bicycle since grade school at play here).  At least in Beaverton, unless you
plan your trip well and you know the obstacles really well, these barriers
can make pulling a bike trailer or driving a surrey impossible, and getting
around on a bicycle larger than you would expect a pre-teen to ride

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