Dirt Road Legend Symbol

I started looking at the OSM website maps last year and quickly realized that they do not accurately distinguish most dirt roads. A few are shown with a double dashed line but most show up as a double solid line, the same as a paved road. For cyclists both wanting to ride on dirt roads and those wanting to avoid them, this is a bad situation. Surprisingly the legend does not include a double dashed line symbol, the universal way of showing a dirt road. So it should be added, and all unpaved surfaces should show up as a double dashed line. I have started delineating the surface of the dirt roads in my immediate area and will expand it once I see their symbols changing.

There is a real problem with the OSM maps showing abandoned roads and railroad beds, many as a double dashed line. With nearly all bicycle GPSs using OSM maps, they will route you onto them if given the opportunity. Someone is going to get seriously lost at night due to this. There are a number of these where the roadway has washed out, been cut through, transferred to private property, etc.

This is a much more complex issue that I think you realise. For instance the issue has been discussed since 2013 here, and probably much earlier.

There are several layers on the OSM website, notably the Humanitarian layer which do distinguish between paved & unpaved roads. cycle.travel certainly makes this distinction in a suitable for cyclists. The main map is general purpose and must arbitrate between many different needs: those of cyclists are just one of them (and also why 2 cycle specific maps are available).

Note that a double dashed casing is not a universal symbol of an unpaved road. Where I’m from (Great Britain) it usually means a road which is unfenced.

Concur with SK53 but will add that where I am a double dashed casing usually means a track suitable only for high clearance vehicles and most likely those with all wheel drive. Where and when I was raised there were plenty of two lane wide unpaved roads that were simply roads considered suitable for any vehicle. Usually the cartographer used some rendering other than the casing to indicate if the road was paved or not.