Footpath showing in OpenCycleMap unsuitable for cycling

I’m new to this.
I’d like to correct OpenCycleMap in that it shows a footpath which is not possible to cycle on (I mean physically not possible, I guess also you’re not supposed to anyway). The docs I’ve found so far suggest that only paths with certain cycle specific tags will appear in OpenCycleMap, the problem is that this path doesn’t have any such tags, so I’m not sure why it’s there. The ID is 24796206.
Thanks for any help

Not everything shown on the cycle map rendering is suitable for cycling on. Just south of your path is the M4, and while it’s useful for people to know where they are relative to it, no-one’s expecting you to cycle down it.

The way in question is this one:

The “foot=yes” means legally people are allowed to walk along it, but there’s no equivalent “bicycle=yes” right for cycling.

If you zoom out a bit further, you can see (just west of Upton) how OpenCycleMap shows cycle routes, and the north-south path to the west of Harwell is tagged as a “bridleway”, so you’re allowed to cycle on that too.

Hi SomeoneElse, thanks for your reply. I expected the forum system to email me when a reply happened, but it didn’t, which is why I’ve taken so long to reply in turn.

I think what both you and OCM are saying is if there is a specific cycle tag as documented at, then the way/route will appear like one of the examples in (the “keys”). And the rest of the map features are rendered for reference.

Most of the paths/ways around the one in question, apart from the one in question, are perfectly suitable for cycling on. But none currently look like any of the examples in the keys, which I assume means they are not tagged. For example, way id 24745663 is actually a rough surface gravel track, which a car could drive along (and they do). But both this and the way/path I raised the question about, which is across a claggy ploughed field with a steep incline, appear rendered identically on OCM.

Should OCM ideally be showing anything which is suitable and/or legal for cycling on like one of the “key” examples? I think it would be useful for OCM to clearly show where you can and can’t cycle. But I’m unsure if around the geographical area I’m referring to, it currently doesn’t look this way because the correct tags have not been added, or because I’ve misunderstood what OCM is all about.

Should I (or anyone else) be going in and specifically adding “missing” cycle network tags to anything which can be cycled on? I’ve no idea what a “local cycle network” is.

Thanks for your help

I think the key on is a bit incomplete, and maybe out of date, it doesn’t show all of the features that are on the map.

For paths, if they it is legal to cycle on them, then they should be tagged as bicycle=yes (or bicycle=permissive if it is a permissive path etc). If it is not legal to cycle there, then tag it as bicycle=no.
OpenCycleMap will show anything tagged as highway=footway + bicycle=yes or highway=path + bicycle=yes as a blue dashed line, the same as anything tagged as highway=cycleway.
If a way is tagged as highway=footway or highway=path, and not tagged as bicycle=yes, then they will be shown as a red/brown dashed line.

For a track that is used by cars etc, or wide enough to drive along, that should probably be tagged as highway=track. OpenCycleMap shows all tracks as a brown dashed line, whether they are tagged as bicycle=yes or not.

For paths and tracks, you can also tag the surface. eg surface=paved if it is tarmac, or surface=mud or surface=gravel etc. See
For tracks, you can also tag tracktype. This is a scale from 1 to 5 for how good it is. See
I don’t think these tags will be shown on OpenCycleMap, but they may still be useful for other OSM based services for cycling. eg CycleStreets will use them for calculating routes.

For a “local cycle network” - this is a network of cycle routes, which may include roads and paths etc. They are usually signposted as cycle routes, and each route may have a name or number etc. If there isn’t cycle route signposts, then its probably not a “local cycle network”, so it shouldn’t be tagged as such.


What the OpenCycleMap key says is that it shows “National Cycle Route”, “Regional Cycle Route”, “Local Cycle Network” and “Cycleway”. It probably helps to give an example.


There’s an example of a regional cycle route. It’s been tagged as follows:

Personally, like Vclaw said, I’d have put some explicit access tags on there as well (my example is a restricted byway, so that would probably be “foot=yes, horse=yes, bicycle=yes, vehicle=yes, motor_vehicle=no”). There’s probably a sign showing that it’s “route 44” in the local region.

If it hadn’t been part of a regional cycle route but still had the same designation you’d still have been legally allowed to cycle there, but it wouldn’t have appeared with any prominence on OepnCycleMap. For example, you’re legally allowed to cycle down here:

but that doesn’t get any special rendering on OpenCycleMap. Just because you’re allowed to cycle on something doesn’t make it a cycleway or part of a local cycle network - it needs to be infrastructure primarily for cyclists for the former and probably to be signed to be the latter.

Furthermore, there’s a difference between “you are legally allowed to cycle there” and “it is physically possible to cycle there” - you said at the start that “you can cycle on most of the footpaths around here”. If it’s physically possible to cycle on them, and it’s tolerated by the landowner but not as the result of a legal right (such as applies to the restricted byway above) then I’d tag it as “bicycle=permissive”. If it’s not tolerated by the landowner but people do it anyway, then it’s “bicycle=no”.

Finally, as you’ve noticed traffic in the UK forum is a bit slow. You might get a quicker response on the talk-gb mailing list:

or on the OSM help site:


Just to clarify, OSM does data does not show where you can cycle, but where you are allowed to cycle. Many footpaths are quite suitable for cycling but there is no right of way for cyclists. Cycling on a footpath is illegal, although infrequently enforced. Footways and public footpaths should not be marked as cycleways or tagged cycle=yes unless there is specific information providing cycling permission.