Marking a PROW as a bad idea

this seems to be legally a right-of-way, however trying to cross seems like a terrible idea, as noted by Note: 2778227 | OpenStreetMap.

how do we handle this?

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If there is genuinely no path of any sort, I probably wouldn’t “create” one just because there’s a legal right of way. People have also used tags such as highway=no, or some sort of hazard tag, or trail_visibility=no. There’s also this approach:

It’s definitely worth a discussion as some of those approaches have received pushback in the past.

On StreetView (just using for viewing purposes!) there is a ProW marker, so I think there is a footpath both legally and physically. It may just not be usable.

However, I do note that there doesn’t appear to be a gap in the central reservation barrier (which can be mapped using Mapillary’s images).

So in this instance, I’d keep the PRoW but I’d also map the map the central reservation barrier. I suppose technically it doesn’t prevent a suitably abled person from crossing it but it’s definitely worth noting that it is impeding crossing - which woudn’t be a good idea anyway, though not illegal.

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I dislike that as it violates the name is a name principle. This might be a better example: Way: ‪Cross Bay Walk‬ (‪858076462‬) | OpenStreetMap

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Unsafe, except during COVID when the roads were empty. I know because I used a similar footpath over a dual carriageway during COVID!

Definitely an issue. I’ve seen variations of this problem on a several rights of way.
That being PRoW across areas or features that can be considered dangerous

  • Tidal areas
  • Bogs, Marsh (wetlands)
  • Roads with 60 mph - 70 mph speeds limits. Especially if 4 lane dual carriageway.

The crossing we’re talking about is interesting because it’s obviously a dangerous crossing, but there are signs either side and Strava shows some use. You could argue there are grounds to map an unmarked crossing here.

The issue is repeated further along where another Public Footpath crosses this dual carriageway. At this crossing the road is in a cutting and overgrown steps can be seen down to the road. But, once again it is obviously dangerous to cross this road, and there is a central reservation barrier to get over. In OSM an editor has decided to simply not map the section that would cross the road (link to map)

I believe the default position should be to aim to record all PRoW OSM. There are some suggestions on the wiki for when the way is not visible, or accessible.

Further Guidance for UK PRow

Rjw62 suggestions for routes not following definitive line

I tried following this advice for a Bridleway on Dartmoor that goes through impenetrable vegetation.

Way 1278921616
highway = no
designation = public_bridleway
horse:physical = no
bicycle:physical = no
foot:physical = no
prow_ref = Manaton Bridleway 8
source:prow_ref = devon_county_council_prow_gis_data

But, “Dangerous” or “Hazard” can be subjective. The Dual Carriageway crossing discussed is used. I personally have used PRoW crossing dangerous roads.

Don’t have strong views about a way to record this, but the Hazard key looks like an option. But I have concerns about the subjective nature of recording the Hazard. Needs to be verifiable, as in eg maybe no marked crossing, speed limit greater than 40mph ?

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I think there might need to be something about road classification too. Crossing a country lane is probably OK, even if it’s NSL simply because the traffic rate is so low.

So maybe:

  • unmarked, and
  • primary (secondary?) or higher, and
  • speed > 40 mph

but with mapper discretion, to perhaps include edge cases.

Perhaps obstacle=vegetation could be added to @JassKurn 's example as well?


obstacle=vegetation has actual data consumers too - the usual suspects, OsmAnd and me!

I think it always needs an actual tag (such as hazard or obstacle) to say “this might be a bit iffy”. As mentioned above, a “dangerous” road is only a problem if there is traffic on it. At 4am in summer I suspect you could almost have a picnic on some normally busy UK dual carriageways!

Something like foot:physical=no makes sense if (say) someone has fenced off a right of way or it’s a really thick hedge, but plenty of ramblers will find their way through overgrown brambles et al (some have been known to carry secateurs…).


York has a few examples of this across its outer ring road. Here’s one such: Node: 5618431119 | OpenStreetMap. It is a reasonably well trodden path and is signed for pedestrians. However, the crossing is basically invisible to the road users and is dangerous (bordering on impassable) if used when the road is busy - most of the day. When the road is not busy, the crossing is entirely practical.

It would be really useful to have a way of prominently flagging such hazards to users of the map and to routers. I think a manual tag denoting a potentially dangerous crossing would be the way to do this - a caveat emptor approach rather than trying to create rules about when it is safe.

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The hazard key doesn’t really have anything in much use (dangerous_junction seems to be misused for it sometimes, as here). Perhaps just hazard=traffic (7 instances only currently) or hazard="something else you've just made up"? I’d be happy to support usage of even a few values at high enough zoom levels at

Somewhat related is this - some of the links there are relevant to “how to show more info on a path”.

I like the idea of documented values of hazard (or some other key) being used on crossing nodes or sections of paths. traffic could be defined along the lines of “subject to high levels of traffic that make use dangerous or impossible at busy periods”. This may need some thought as to what it would mean if applied to a way.

There could also be values to cover situations such as slippy paths (tow paths going under bridges?), paths subject to tides, erosion, quicksand etc. All of these cover warnings - at some times the hazard may not exist but people need to be aware of it.

It would also be useful to provide a free text note along with the tag in order to provide specific information about a particular hazard.

There’s hazard=dangerous_crossing which has been used 83 times, though the vast majority of them by a single mapper on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

I was thinking hazard=unmarked_crossing but dangerous crossing could work.

I would prefer that the type of hazard is indicated ie what makes it a hazard. hazard=dangerous* seems rather redundant anyway given that hazard means a danger.

I was thinking hazard=unmarked_crossing but dangerous crossing could work.

An unmarked crossing would be captured as crossing=unmarked on the highway=crossing. This is not necessarily a danger as it could cross a road that is seldom used. The hazard in my example is that when there is busy traffic the crossing becomes dangerous or impossible.

I seem to remember the A19 being quite exciting on the Coast to Coast with a full rucksack. That’s mapped as part of the road crossing so a hazard would need to be foot-specific Way: 61454848 | OpenStreetMap

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Sure. But it’s the medicine/drug comparison. All hazardous crossings are (probably?) unmarked but not all unmarked are hazardous.

Agreed but very difficult to tag for. Most data consumers aren’t going to be using real time traffic info, for example. So I think we can have a generic tag that may not always apply.

Not necessarily just foot. Could apply to cyclists and horse riders too.

But, yes, a crossing is a shared node between the road and path and a hazardous crossing tag on that shared node would apply to the path.

Though, in theory, it could also be used by a road router (e.g., to warn road users to be cautious of the crossing) but there’s usually road signs that might be better mapped for that.

I was thinking the hazard tag would be on the way across rather than the node, but also that the route is mapped using the roads that cross rather than a separate path. So either the consumer needs to understand that the value only relates to certain traffic or it’s set with e.g. hazard:foot

Misused? I really don’t think so. That instance is for a signed dangerous junction hazard, exactly what it is supposed to be used for. It’s even got a yellow extra warning surround on the sign for extra emphasis. It’s a concealed entrance and so is very much dangerous.

By “misused” I meant that it wasn’t at a junction, not that it wasn’t dangerous :slight_smile: