Cycleways and Road Shoulders

Hello Everyone,

I am an avid bicyclist and have noticed that very few streets in the USA have listed <cycleway=lane> on most of the roads that have paved shoulders. Bicycle riders consider a paved shoulder as a cycleway lane. Case in point, Danville Blvd/San Ramon Blvd/San Ramon Valley Blvd, between Walnut Creek, Ca. and Dublin, Ca. correctly shows the shoulder as <cycleway=lane>. This is an extremely important bicycling road. The world famous bicycling road “Silverado Trail”, Napa, Ca. does not indicate any <cycleway=lane> the road has very wide shoulder that are perfect for bicycle riding, in fact the shoulders are wide enough to ride side by side. I am calling on all cartographers to add to all streets that have paved shoulders the <cycleway=lane> designation. Also, California has over 1000 miles of Freeways that are designated as <cycleway=lane>. Highway 4 in California has one such lane (paved shoulder), both ways, between Port Chicago Highway and Willow Pass Road in Concord, Ca. It is legal to ride on the paved shoulder of the Freeway, because the alternate route using Willow Pass Rd, is to dangerous top ride. It is going to be a very big job for everyone.

California RoadRunner

Note that there is a great tool - BTM to help you in finding the various bicycle related tags on OSM.
It was developed for the Dutch bicycle community but can easily be used anywhere.
Here is an example of the cycleway=lane tag in the Fremont area. When you click on that link, give it some time to populate the map with it’s data.

See the wiki for that tool:

I am aware of the cycle website you are referring to. That website points out how woefully inadequate the database is. There are 10’s of thousands of miles of roads within the USA with paved shoulders, that should have the tag <cycleway=lane>. I am working on a bicycle tour of the Southwest US, from the Eastbay area of San Francisco thru Yosemite National Park, to Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Moab, UT and finally Yellowstone National Park. then Amtrak home. The tour will begin March 1, 2016. We are seeking every road with paved shoulders. It is very difficult, because none of the roads, “Expressways that allow bicycles, Trunk, Primary and Secondary Roads” have the <cycleway=lane> designation. I have to go to Google maps and Zoom in on the satellite view to see if the road has paved shoulders or I have to make an kml file to play it in Google earth. Another example of a California State Highway with great paved shoulders is Hwy 12/88 east of Lockford, Ca. into the lower Sierra’s. There are countless more examples, I can cite. That is why I am calling on all OSM cartographers to work on completing the database with<cycleway=lane> designation.

California RoadRunner

I agree with the need to map these paved shoulders as bike lanes are a rare commodity is many places, though the roads are easily used IF there is a paved shoulder. I keep off roads that don’t have a safe bit on the side for cyclists and like you, have found using google for this a bit of a pain.
I feel that a new tag should be developed for this, maybe something like cycleway=paved_shoulder or similar to distinguish from the dedicated cycle lanes.
I’m sure it would be accepted readily and mappers would start tagging them. Perhaps the guide should be a minimum width of half a metre.

Only a half meter wide paved shoulder for bicycling on? You are a braver bicyclist than I.

If you tag a road as having a cycleway and having a paved shoulder, then a renderer will show them as separate entities. So in my opinion, that tagging is not correct. It would be better to use something like shoulder=yes + shoulder:bicycle=yes.

shoulder=left, right or both plus + shoulder:bicycle=yes seems to work well for me so i will start mapping those

To Tordanik and nevw,

If you can come up with a consistent standard regarding paved shoulders that would be great. Currently in the USA <cycleway=lane> is all we have and that is how we currently designate paved shoulders to make the renderings come up correctly. I check the results with the current cycle map mention earlier in this forum by marczoutendijk. I know that the current designation is far from perfect, but it is better than nothing at all. Please create the new standard and publish it. Every Bicyclist in the world will be very happy.

California RoadRunner

I found a proposal dated 08/01/2010 The wiki discussion is.

The proposal seems to have gotten lost, since no action seems to have occurred.

Can the proposal be reviewed, because the designation of shoulders on USA roads are of extremely importance to all cyclists in the USA.

California RoadRunner

The reason why cycle features on USA roads haven’t been mapped is that people from the USA haven’t had chance to map them yet - I’d say you were in the best place to fix that!

Whether “cycleway=lane” or some sort of shoulder tag is more appropriate I’d discuss with other local mappers (though finding some your side of the bay might be tricky). However, the time-consuming part is the survey+mapping part - changing the tags afterwards (if required) is easier.

Don’t worry about the status of any previous proposal - just try and fit with how people locally tag things.

To SomeoneElse,

I guess you are right, apparently there was little interest in establishing a usable standard, first proposed 5 years ago. Since that is the case, I will proceed with the Designation <cycleway=lane>, that is currently being used, since it is better than nothing at all.

California RoadRunner

For those of you that are interested. I just added <cycleway=lane> to the Silverado Trail from Napa, Ca. to Calistoga, Ca. I have a direct link to my YouTube channel for those of you that want to see what it is like to ride a bicycle on the Silverado Trail.

It looks like I’ve got a lot of work to do. I sure could use some help.
California RoadRunner

I hadn’t noticed the following on the key=cycleway page

Used in Australia for shoulders that are navigable and legal to cycle on, where a high-speed road is legal but not useful infrastructure

I hadn’t noticed the following on the key=cycleway page for my country

Used in Australia for shoulders that are navigable and legal to cycle on, where a high-speed road is legal but not useful infrastructure

So for Aust mappers this tagging would be preferred for now I suppose as the tag can easily be altered later if further discussion results in better tagging.

To nevw

Apparently this tag is used in your country only, but no where else in the world. Such a shame that it wasn’t adopted as a worldwide standard, years ago.

" <cycleway=shoulder> - Used in Australia for shoulders that are navigable and legal to cycle on, where a high-speed road is legal but not useful infrastructure"

California RoadRunner

Perhaps it should start being used world wide. . . You could introduce the cycleway=shoulder to the US.

Makes more sense to me than tagging a road shoulder as cycleway=lane as a cycleway=lane should be separated, at least with paint, from automobile traffic and should have bicycle icons on the pavement.

There have been a number of people active on the talk-us OSM email list working on bicycle routes in the US. Might be interesting for you to contact those parties and find out what they have been doing.

And what about the access rights to the shoulder? Bicycle only? Or also pedestrians, mopeds, oxcarts, …? In Thailand, many bigger roads have shoulders, and if they are present, bicycles and mopeds have to use them instead of the main lanes, but they can be used by just every type of transport. Hence I prefer shoulder=yes. When you create your map, you can render it like a cycleway.

Hello Everyone,
I want to thank everyone for their comments. I have concluded that the tag <cycleway=lane> is the correct tag to use for now, since this is the tag currently use by most OSM cartographers. The reason is that in the USA, we have been an automobile based society and that our roads have been designed for the automobile with little regard for cyclists. In light of this fact, cyclists in the USA, consider paved shoulders as cycleways. The reason why is our current paved shoulders are being designated as cycleways by our cities, counties, and states to meet federally mandated requirement that bicycle lanes be created in order to receive federal highway funds, failure to do so will result in the loss of federal funding. In California, over the past few years, I have seen a large number of paved shoulders, marked with bicycle lane signs and bike lane logos painted in former paved shoulders. “Paved Shoulders Today, Bicycle Lanes Tomorrow”. In my original opening message in this forum, I stated that all cyclists consider paved shoulders as bicycle lanes. I would like to call on all OSM cartographers to add to all highways with paved shoulders the tag <cycleway=lane> until such time when a worldwide agreement upon a tag regarding paved shoulders is created and adopted.
California RoadRunner

Actually, I fail to see, how one can differentiate an ex-shoulders cyclelanes from two newly built oneway cyclelanes or cyclelanes built grom autolanes narrowing, unless you know the history of the place.

cycleway=lane for a shoulder that can be used by cyclists would not fit the use in many European countries. In particular in Italy we use cycleway=lane for official cycle paths that are lanes on the road AND that have a cyclepath sign ( For that reason I would prefer strongly a different tagging for shoulders that can be used by bicycles, but are not exclusively for cyclists. I think one of the main differences is that cycleway=lane excludes pedestrian use.