How to tag the side of the cycleway/footway on a segregated path?

I noticed that there are about 200 paths in Germany (but it is an international issue) with cycleway/sidewal:left/right trying to modele the side of the cycle path or footpath at segregated cycle-footpaths.

something like highway=footway + cycleway:left=lane bicycle=designated
instead of highway=path + segregated=yes foot=designated bicycle=designated

  1. From my point of view, a cycleway=yes/track/lane does not fit to path types (footway, cycleway, path).
  2. In the case of a segregated path (or possibly cycleway), I always expect the cycle path to be on the left (in countries where driving on the right is mandatory), so simply draw the path in the normal direction of travel.

Given the relatively infrequent use, I don’t expect applications to understand that either.

How do you see it? Is it necessary, ok, superfluous or wrong to use cycleway:left/right on a path?

This brings use to the topic: How to tag the side of the cycleway/footway?
see below: How to tag the side of the cycleway/footway on a segregated path? - #20 by Langlaeufer

I don’t want to discuss here about the different meaning for designation! We can do the same example with cycleway or path.

Difficult. At a highway=footway I do not expect information about a bike path. Would feel it there therefore as wrong.

With path/cycleway + segrerated I know enough places, where also in Germany the cycle track is on the right side of the footpath.
Therefore, I think it makes sense that you record this info if necessary. The way it is recorded, however, I find unfortunate. However, I would not think of a better variant ad hoc.

this would require at least bicycle=designated foot=designated to qualify as segregated path

This assumption does not hold everywhere, for example in Poland. Note also that Poland and other places commonly have two-way cycleways on sidewalks.

In general I would agree, but I have no ready alternative to tag side on which cycleway part is. But I would at least add bicycle=designated segregated=yes

1 Like

But also in Poland the line has a drawing direction and this defines a left and right.

Simply draw the path in the direction that the cycleway is left.

A also say such constructhion highway:lanes=cycleway|footway

this was a minimized example

There is a significant number of highway=footway or sidewalk =* with bicycle=yes or designated you can not ignore.


But that is also another issue.
Footway + bicycle=yes defines primarily a footpath, which can be used by bicycles (depending on legal requirements; e.g. in Germany only walking speed).
Footway + bicycle=designated contradict each other. For this there is highway=path!

there is no reason to expect this to be done consistently

I mapped many highway=path bicycle=designated foot=designated segregated=yes and never ever considered this or heard about recommendation to consider it while mapping


To me, those define different sorts of objects (albeit with the same legal access rights).

  • The “highway=footway” one says “this was built for use by pedestrians, and someone has added a segregated bicycle lane on the left (in the direction of travel of the way), which cyclists have a legal right to use”, but may be inferior to other “proper” cycle paths elsewhere.
  • The “highway=path” one initially says nothing about whether it’s likely to be appropriate for cyclists, but the " bicycle=designated" modifier changes that to say “actually, this is a highway=cycleway” (i.e. not inferior to other proper cycle paths). It doesn’t say which side pedestrians or cyclists go.

I don’t wanted to discuss about access here in the discussion. Only about the side of a cycleway on a segregated path.

1 Like draws the cycleway on the left side of the path
image (cycleway blue vs green footway

you may also use bicycle:lanes = yes|no instead of cycleway:left/right constructions on path

We can define a default for this, otherwise we need to tag each segregated path with the sides

Not really, or more specifically it would be meaningless. It would nor change that existing data was tagged without being aware of such supposed default and cannot be expected to match it, except by accident.


I’m sure time heals this, when it is documented and visible! in maps. At the moment it doesn’t seem to be so relevant that many would also look at it when it was recorded.

The only thing that feels wrong to me, is the usage of highway=footway instead of highway=path, but I know of sidewalks with signs that would justify even this strange tagging (signs say footway with bicycles allowed but markings are clearly a separated cycleway). So while it looks odd, I actually don’t think it’s wrong. At least with the appropriate bicycle=* tag.

I haven’t felt the need yet, but ff there is a requirement to map the side of a cycleway on a segregated path, how else would you tag it?

But to answer the actual question: For me, it feels superfluous, but that’s in a country where the cycleway is always on the left. In countries with a different legislation, this might well be different, though.

There sometimes are exception on beside bus stops and at crossings, where you can’t define if the cycleway left or right of the road.

What about the bicycle|lanes?

For me highway=path + cycleway=* reads like there is an additional cycleway besides the path.

What meaning does “highway=path” convery to you? How would you react to this often-quoted diary entry?

If it was cycleway:<side>=lane, then not. But I agree that bicycle:lanes = yes|no seems the more elegant solution, because it’s gradually refining, so even routers that don’t look at :lanes can make use of the information. I have the feeling that a lot of people shy away from :lanes-tagging, though.

A path, to me, is basically a way for pedestrians and cyclists (and horse riders, but let’s ignore trhem) and both are equal users of the way. A footway or cycleway, to me, conveys a ranking of one above the other, which in the majority of cases isn’t given on segregated ways.

But the question was whether and how to tag the side where cyclists are supposed to ride on segregated ways. Not which highway=*-value to use.

for me

  • footway bicycle=designated foot=designated
  • path bicycle=designated foot=designated
  • cylceway bicycle=designated foot=designated
    is all the same because the designated says that it is the intended type of traffic.

The German community mostly uses path in this case because it is in fact a multi-purpose path. ID prefers cycleway (maybe because cycling ist the faster travel mode). But yes this is controversial since the introduction of path and I do not want to discuss it here.


Back to the topic, what are the options to tag the side of the cycleway on a segregated path?

  1. define left side as default (on ride hand traffic) for cycleway on a segregated path
  2. use cycleway:left/right=lane
  3. use highway:lanes=cycleway|footway
  4. use bicycle:lanes=yes|no (+ foot:lanes=no|yes)
  5. bicycle:left=designated + foot:right=designated
  6. <key?> = bicycle|foot
    … ?

At the end, consistent data we will only get, when it is documented and supported by renderers and editors.