Mapping tracks in fields/wood that may overgrow

I’ve uploaded a number of GPS tracks of one-day trips in bike, from my fellow cyclists. The tracks are in fields and woods, and are of unknown grade. Since most tracks of grade 1-3 in the area are mapped already, these must be grade 4-5, or even 6. And to be exact, the grades can be constantly changing: some tracks may overgrow just in 2 years, or start being ridden by cars again.

The cyclists warn me not to map all the tracks, since this can be misleading: I may map a narrow overgrown path as a track, which implies it’s suitable for cars. My fellows already say I’m gonna be damned by car drivers who’ll try to follow the routes I’ll draw. :slight_smile:

I’d like to learn how other cyclists deal with this issue.

Any OSM routing software worth its salt won’t route car drivers down a track unless explicitly told to.

In my opinion, if the width of a track is too narrow for a car, it should be mapped as a path rather than a track, possibly with some more precise access indications added.

I’ve been mapping hiking trails that are passible by foot and BMX as highway=footway Bicycle=yes. How are we to determine when to tag as a footway and when to tag as a track? I’ve not used track yet.

I use the following system:

-use highway=track when the way could conceivably also be described as an unpaved road (i.e. has two parallel tyre-ways caused by passage of vehicles)
-use highway=footway when it’s a path specifically designated for pedestrians
-use highway=path when it’s a multi-use path.

highway=path is the spawn of Satan. highway=cycleway is the long-established OSM way of tagging a route suitable for both bicycles and pedestrians.

How do you know whether a route is suitable for both bicycles and pedestrians?

Around here we have a lot of “fire roads” that are cut and graded from paved roads into water sources to assist firefighters in getting water when hydrants arent available. Generally suitable for hiking and passable by 4x4 vehicles but not passable by road vehicles. Guess I need to use track for those and footway for anything narrower. Will try to avoid the spawn of satan.

Why? As I understand, a path in English means an unpaved way in a wild where grass doesn’t grow because of feet walking by it.

On the other hand, a cycleway means it’s made for bicycles, or at least definitely suitable.

Now, if you know there’s a path in a forest, surely not suitable for cars, but you’re not sure if it’s not crossed by trunks of fallen trees, will you mark it as cycleway? I wouldn’t like to make cyclists stop and carry their bikes over the trunks each 20 metres :slight_smile:

Then, where except the North-Western Europe, there are lots of dedicated bike lanes?

And the Features page explicitly says of highway=cycleway:
For designated cycleways; i.e., mainly/exclusively for bicycles. Add foot=* only if default-access-restrictions do not apply.