OpenStreetMap

Why does OSM default render highway=path as a cycleway?

Posted by wilda69 on 9 July 2018 in English (English)

I have noticed that as soon as highway=path is tagged together with bicycle=designated and foot=designated it turns the highway into a cycleway. Must be a programmer's dubious preference!

Comment from Piskvor on 10 July 2018 at 08:48

This does seem to have an (old-ish) issue open at Github: https://github.com/gravitystorm/openstreetmap-carto/issues/1321

Comment from SomeoneElse on 10 July 2018 at 09:07

The isn't really the fault of OSM Carto - "path" in OSM is a pretty nasty concept. It's really just "a way of getting from A to B that isn't wide enough for 4 wheeled transport". However we are where we are, and its certainly not going away.

"bicycle=designated and foot=designated" just means that two forms of transport are suggested to use that route as opposed to others; it doesn't tell you anything about what sort of "highway" it is. Personally I'd always try and use a more appropriate highway tag if there is one (does it look like it's designed for use by bicycles? highway=cycleway, with appropriate access tags. Horses? highway=bridleway, again with appropriate access tags.

You can also use other tags (surface, width, tracktype, smoothness etc.) to try and get the sense across properly.

Comment from Arlo James Barnes on 10 July 2018 at 20:38

There was also a discussion on the OSM Slack about how multi-use tracks get rendered, and it seems like there are different cultural expectations about usage between Europe and the Americas.

Comment from Mateusz Konieczny on 10 July 2018 at 20:52

Why rendering highway=path with bicycle=designated as cycleway would be wrong?

Comment from GinaroZ on 10 July 2018 at 23:31

Surely once you tag a path with bicycle=designated it is no longer just a basic "path" and therefore that information (that it is for bicycles) should be rendered on the map?

Comment from wilda69 on 11 July 2018 at 06:54

My problem is that the tags I refer to in my question also include "foot=designate", but this is ignored. There was a suggestion to make the line a dotted red/blue one in such cases . In many European countries a cycleway is not just a highway wide enough for a bicycle, but a specially created highway for bicycles that often may be shared by pedestrians. I get concerned seeing cycleways now being rendered by OSM specially in parks where before it was an area where pedestrians could enjoy some tranquility.

It is a fact that OSM maps are being used more and more for navigation and as a cyclist myself I would opt for the cycleways to avoid areas of pedestrians. But, now I am guided precisely into these areas.

Comment from Richard on 11 July 2018 at 13:27

Don't use highway=path then. :)

For footpaths through parks where bikes are also permitted, use highway=footway, bicycle=yes. For specially created cycleways where pedestrians are also permitted, use highway=cycleway, foot=yes.

As the author of a cycle routing and mapping website (cycle.travel) I wish highway=path would just die in a fire.

Comment from Mateusz Konieczny on 11 July 2018 at 19:35

I get concerned seeing cycleways now being rendered by OSM specially in parks where before it was an area where pedestrians could enjoy some tranquility.

What is wrong with rendering cycleways as cycleways? And if that are footways with merely allowed cycling (not combined highway and cycleway) and highway=path + bicycle=designated is wrong, I would use highway=footway, bicycle=yes for that (like at https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/28837572#map=18/50.07207/19.99189 )

and as a cyclist myself I would opt for the cycleways to avoid areas of pedestrians. But, now I am guided precisely into these areas.

For cycling purposes I would recommend using cycling-focused map style, not a general one. Currently for cycling I am using maps from https://www.openandromaps.org/en/

As the author of a cycle routing and mapping website (cycle.travel) I wish highway=path would just die in a fire.

As an author and co-author of some map styles (including one criticized in this diary entry) I consider highway=path as evil, stupid and broken. See https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Mateusz%20Konieczny/diary/35389 - "New road style for the Default map style - highway=path is evil"

Comment from Mateusz Konieczny on 11 July 2018 at 19:35

not combined highway and cycleway

should be "not combined footway and cycleway" (sorry, there is no edit function)

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