Deprecate Key:cyclestreet?

Of course we did :slight_smile:

I actually suggested something along such lines in a thread on the old German forum (didn’t make myself a lot of friends).

Essentially in Germany, because the state of bicycle infrastructure is on average so dismal, there is a certain motivation to elevate anything that isn’t your ~50cm wide bumpy nearly unpaved cycleway to something “better”. But in real life there is no practical issue for data consumers with adding a bicycle_road=yes to normal streets if motor vehicle access is allowed on the “bicycle road” and otherwise map it as a cycleway with foot=yes and other appropriate tags.


A bicycle road is a cyclepath that is as wide as a road and can have sidewalks, but it isn’t a cyclepath according to the definition of the country (Germany mostly).

A cyclestreet is a road where cyclists are the main users and cars are guests.

In the past it has been discussed multiple times whether these are the same and it has been clear multiple times that they are different. Communities have chosen which one most properly describes the concept that exists in their country the best.

The naming is indeed not very consistent, but this is not uncommon in OSM. Highway=unclassified is used for something that most people will consider neither a highway, nor unclassified. Natural=water is also used for a situation that nobody would consider nature. These tags already exist and changing them will create more problems than it solves. Each renderer or other data users that uses them needs to be changed.

Edit: I see you’ve completely rewritten the page bicycle_road on the wiki, which makes the distinction less clear than it was.

(This is a bit off topic, but FYI, especially the Dutch community tags sidewalks on highway=cycleway if they do have sidewalks. According to taginfo, more than 25000 cycleways have sidewalks tagged.)

Yes, this is kind of deliberate in the sense that I documented the actual use of the tag. As mentioned, bicycle_road is not only used in countries with a vehicle=no + bicycle=designated default restriction (Germany + Estonia AFAIK), but all over the place, including in countries which have no official concept of bicycle roads at all in the law.

In particular, Austria for example has a default vehicle=destination + bicycle=designated restriction and Luxembourg used to have it until December 2020. So is this now bicyle_road or cyclestreet according to the definition about default restrictions?

That’s what I am trying to get across in this thread: The documented use so far about implied restrictions, at least outside roundabout Germany, Netherlands, Belgium does not coincide with actual use.
Plus, looking at the legislation of each country, the exact restrictions differ somewhat anyway.

But sure, maybe it would make sense to add another sentence in the wiki to make clear that bicycle_road has been initially intended to specifically describe the legal situation in Germany specifically. Well, or at least, that this is what the wiki page initially looked like. On the other hand, no wonder: The concept of bicycle roads did not exist in most other countries in 2010 yet, so what else should that wiki page describe when it was translated to English in 2013?

Then again, I pretty much already wrote this on the wiki page for bicycle_road, in the bottom section that talks about the difference to cyclestreet:

The reason why two tags for about the same concept exist is likely because this page was initially just describing the German Fahrradstraße when it was created in 2010. When Belgian mappers documented cyclestreet=yes for the Belgian Fietsstraat in 2018, they either did not find this tag in the wiki or discarded it as too specific to the German legislation:

It has been documented that cyclestreet=yes should be used in countries where other vehicles than bicycles are allowed on bicycle roads by default while bicycle_road=yes is used in countries where only bicycles are allowed by default.

However, the documentation has been out of line with the actual usage of the tags.
As of December 2022, the community in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg rather consistently uses cyclestreet=yes while bicycle_road=yes is used more overall. In most other countries, both tags are in use.

As the exact legal restrictions differ somewhat and may change in the different countries, trying to group them into two different tags is not a meaningful endeavor, as in no country, both the less restrictive and the more restrictive variants exist at the same time. Also, for example in Luxembourg, the law initially forbade general motor vehicle traffic on cycle streets. Only end of 2020, the law was watered down to be similar to the legislation in Belgium.

Hence, data consumers should treat cyclestreet=yes as synonymous to bicycle_road=yes and rather look at the actual access restrictions tagged, optionally fall back to the tags listed in the table above if nothing is set, for better accuracy.



Well, to that I would counter that

  1. living streets in different countries as well as pedestrian zones in different countries are also different. Including different maxspeeds, different access restrictions etc. As with pretty much everything - legislation is just quite different in different countries. Still, for those streets we use the same tag all over the world. Why? Because we primarily do map the classification, the signs, and not what restrictions they imply in legislation. Mapping the legislation is always problematic in that all your mapped data becomes invalid/ambiguous after the legislation changes (see Luxembourg example).
    Basically what I wrote in this prior post: Deprecate Key:cyclestreet? - #7 by westnordost

  2. I don’t follow your point that if bicycle_road and cyclestreet were effectively declared synonymous, it would necessitate (more?) documentation than now.

    1. Right now according to supposed/documented difference between these two tags, you’d already need to research what is the legal situation in the country you want to use that tag in. Because if it is more restrictive, you need to use the one tag, if it is less restrictive, the other. If it was somewhere in between (e.g. Austria), you have a problem. If it was just one tag on the other hand, you (the mapper) would not have to do this research.
      (Edit: And we see from the post above, that mappers don’t do that. They “flip a coin”.)

    2. And of course, the current documentation does not work / does not reflect actual use of the tag(s) anyway. See my post above, bicycle_road is used all over the place, i.e. including outside of countries with more restrictive legislation (or any legislation at all)

    3. If it was just one tag, the actual legal interpretation of what this tag means (i.e. what this sign means) is not up to the mapper, but up for the data consumer. And this is normal, see my first point about living streets. Comprehensive wiki documentation like the one you linked about access restrictions, the default speed limits page and now the table added to the bicycle_road wiki page help data consumers to complete incomplete data but such documentation is not an obligation to be able to map it in the first place.


A Dutch variant of the German Fahrradstraße (so bicycle_road) would be seen in the Netherlands as a wide cyclepath, maybe with sidewalks. Neighbourhoods with cyclepaths as main roads have existed in the Netherlands since the 1980s like here in Almere.

In Germany it seems that a cyclepath cannot have sidewalks for legal reasons. Therefore they need a separate tag for this. In the Netherlands (and other countries) cyclepaths can have sidewalks.

A cyclestreet (fietsstraat) is something else. It’s a road with cyclists as main users and cars as guests. This concept may not exist in countries you’re familiar with, but it does exist in the Netherlands (since at least 1996) and Belgium. The tag cyclestreet is well established in these countries. In the path the tag cycleway=cyclestreet has sometimes been used for these, but that has been changed consistently to cyclestreet=yes.

I think the way to go would be that other communities decides whether the concept in their country would fit the bicycle road definition or cyclestreet definition and change mistagged roads accordingly. Not by blurring the difference between them.


+1 to deduplication, there is no need to keep synonymous tags

Ideally, this tag would be used only where there is an actual legal status applying (like living_street)

Maybe validators should complain about clear detectable misuse?


Looking at the aerial imagery, there seems to be limited access for motor vehicles as well:

So I am wondering if highway=cycleway is really the best main tag here. At least for my German feeling, this implies infrastructure that cannot be used by four wheeled vehicles.

From my experience here in Kiel, this doesn’t describe the situation in Germany very well. Most bicycle roads in Germany are not cycleways with sidewalks, but are residential streets with changed designation (and often some changes to infrastructure as well, like converting car parking to bicycle parking etc.).

This is also true for most bicycle roads in Germany: Those that have an additional sign allowing motor vehicle access. Following your logic, those bicycle roads would then have to be tagged as cyclestreets.

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That seems extreme interpretation (in Poland cycleways are routinely used by municipal vehicles collecting garbage from trash cans)


These descriptions sound basically the same to me. Are cyclists not the main users of a bicycle road? Does a cyclestreet never have sidewalks?


A wide cyclepath is by default not for cars, a road is. So they are certainly not basically the same for me.

In the Netherlands roads, cycleways and cyclestreets can have sidewalks. The no-sidewalk rule for cyclepaths seems to be a German thing.

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Do these access tags accurately describe each of the two street/road/path types?

Cyclestreet in the Netherlands:
bicycle=designated (primary users)
motor_vehicle=yes (legally allowed, but guests)

Bicycle road in Germany:
bicycle=designated (primary users)
motor_vehicle=no|private (either not allowed, or official/authorized use only)

In Germany or Austria either motor_vehicle=yes or destination is used if motor vehicles are generally allowed or at least residents are allowed to drive in.
As far as I know, bicycles always have priority on these roads.

@A67-A67 you mentioned several times that cycleways in Germany can’t have sidewalks. This is new to me, what is your source? After all, there are foot- and cycleways that are segregated from one another () and that segregation could be a line, just a different colored paving or it could be a kerb. In the latter case, that’s already something that could be tagged with sidewalk.

Back to the topic, I feel like the difference between the German Fahrradstraße and the Belgian Fietstraat is being overstated in this thread. Because, while the former is on paper “bicycles only unless signed otherwise”, I have actually never seen a Fahrradstraße that is not signed otherwise, usually allowing in any motor vehicles or at least residents.
Also, Fahrradstraßen in general seem to be just redesignated streets, just like Fietstraat, and not built to the purpose of being a cycleway (otherwise they would just be highway=cycleway). My general impression is that they are further away from highway=cycleway than they are from sharrows (cycleway=shared_lane + cycleway:lane=pictograms).

Take this with a grain of salt though, because this is just based on what I’ve seen, not on any statistical analysis. Maybe worth a StreetComplete quest: “May vehicles other than bikes use this street and if yes, under which conditions?”


You are welcome to visit Kiel and have a look at the Veloroute 10.

Not quite, see the wiki article for bicycle_road: It’s actually vehicle=no. However, the legislation explicitly states that the access may be modified by extra signs, which it usually is. Examples:


motorcycle=yes motorcar=yes trailer=yes agricultural=yes


That would seem to be wrong, as this would exclude general aka not just to a destination on the road use by pedestrians (and cyclists fwiw). So that should likely be motor_vehicle=destination (glossing over riding etc).

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Picture pls.

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Standard access for Dutch cyclestreets depends on the type / traffic sign:

This is Veloroute 10: Relation: ‪Veloroute 10‬ (‪3292584‬) | OpenStreetMap

And I found there is a trail for it on Mapillary. Some sections are cycleways, some sections are (signed as) bicycle roads exclusive to bicycles, other sections are bicycle roads that allow other vehicles too:

The sections that are exclusive to bicycles could have just as well been signed as a dual cycleway (and pretty sure would have been in the Netherlands), but well, that’s how they are signed.