Tagging of adjacent cycleway + footway (sidewalk)

Exactly the things that sets them apart and make it easy and worthwile to tag these sidewalks as sidewalk=yes. Segregated is more suitable for line-in-the-middle segregation, which is much more frequent outside Nederland.
I expect the practice will be adopted elsewhere once cycleways with true sidewalks (kerbs, pedestrian pavement, traffic signs) will be used systematically.

That is exactly what I was going to say. First we tag it as well as we see fit, then output-oriented data users can profit from it. QA tools could support it - or not, as they please. Of course, I’d rather they did.
Re-tagging for the tools is not my preference.

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cycleway:surface and footway:surface make NO sense at all on a highway=cycleway

It is a cycleway and it has a surface. Not a cycleway:surface

If there is a sidewalk next to a cycleway tag it as sidewalk=

If this logic continues are we going to get: residential:surface and footway:surface on highway=residential next?


If in any other country cycleways have proper sidewalks in the same way streets have, they could do a lot worse than to tag these as highway=cycleway plus sidewalk=right|left. There is a fundamental difference between a shared cycleway/footway and a cycleway with a sidewalk. I’ve explained this difference a while back in forum posts referenced in the related issues.

If you dislike those cycleways, the advised solution is to just not visit the Netherlands, the country is full of them! (But leave the tags alone please.)


That … isn’t really my experience? … at least based on cycleways in the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, and a few other places. If you showed me pictures of cycleways from those countries with all signage covered up, I’m pretty sure I’d be able to tell the difference, even of ostensibly the same feature (e.g. a segregated cycleway with pedestrians to one side).

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Indeed. It is one of the most noticeable things when going abroad and seeing the cycling infrastructure.

@rhhs This is typical in the Netherlands: a street with a sidewalk on the left, turns into a cycleway with the same sidewalk continuing on the left (for cars thus a dead-end street, obviously). (Photo from Google Streetview, because it’s rather dark outside now.)

The street and cycleway are mapped with a line following their centre, and the sidewalk is either mapped separately or with an attribute like sidewalk=left. It wouldn’t make sense to place the line in the middle of both the sidewalk and the cycleway here.

Here’s an example of a cyclestreet continuing as a cycleway (usually highway=residential or highway=unclassified with cyclestreet=yes).


Please read this thread (which was already linked here) so you know what the mapping consensus is here in The Netherlands. And especially why we use this method, which is quite nicely explained there.

In my opinion this is really quite alot for a tagging combination that is (almost) only used in such a small country as NL.

There are a few cycleways with small sidewalk (separated by kerb) in Slovenia, too.

Number 3 (sidewalks) is different on the ground and therefore it makes totally sense to tag it differently.

If someone wants to unify tagging, they should try to get rid of number 1 or number 2, because they describe the same thing on the ground.

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Can someone please enlighten me on the legal difference between tagging 1&2 vs. 3 in the Netherlands? Is it described somewhere that a footway (“voetpad”) that is adjacent to a cycleway (with or without height difference) is legally always a sidewalk (“trottoir”)? And that it is legally relevant that a footway is a sidewalk? I searched the Dutch traffic law (RVV) for “trottoir” and found that it always occurs together with “voetpad”, i.e. there seems to be no legal difference between them as far as traffic rules are concerned. “trottoir” is not defined in that law. Is there another law that makes a legal distinction between footway and sidewalk?

I don’t think that object properties have to have legal implications to be tag-worthy.

For example, not everywhere in the world are there legal implications of hipped-and-gabled roof shape or colour of a bench, yet it’s ok to tag these properties.

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Sorry to barge in as I’m neither Dutch nor a significant contributor to cycleways :slight_smile: My attention was attracted because the second pattern sometimes causes difficulties for me when I map hiking routes and I find “cycleways” that are obviously plain paths or footways where cycles are allowed.

Reading this thread reminds me of discussions we had about hiking and cycling routes and where an important concept was introduced: the operator’s intent. It seems to me that it is what you are trying to capture when seeking legal references or visual clues. How many different intent patterns are there?


They make sense if it’s tagged with segregated=yes, which is the only time I recall those tags being applied by StreetComplete.

A large part of my commute used to be on ways (correctly IMO) tagged highway=cycleway + segregated=yes + cycleway:surface=asphalt + footway:surface=paving_stones

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The legal difference is irrelevant. You can see the biggest difference in the photo I posted or the Google Streetview link. It’s a matter of physical design, not legality. In the Netherlands sidewalks can be found alongside streets and cycleways, and it makes sense to map those with the ways aligned to the centre of the street/cycleway (which excludes any sidewalks).

(Legally a cycleway is signposted with one of the three common signs, and legally, pedestrians must use these unless a sidewalk or nearby roughly parallel footpath is present, in which case use of that path is mandatory.)

I’ve documented this on the wiki too (under Usage on cycleways). If we were to map cycleways with sidewalks as shared cycleway/footway paths, the centre line would shift. That doesn’t make sense when the sidewalks are built the way they are in the Netherlands.

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I would say that regardless of the presence of segregated=yes, the presence of a truthy sidewalk value means that cycleway:surface and footway:surface are incorrect and should be surface and sidewalk:surface instead. A way with a sidewalk implies segregated=yes. Only without a sidewalk (or negating sidewalk values) and segregated=yes should it be considered a combined path.


The problem I can see with that is the highway=primary/secondary etc. does NOT indicate who can access the road, therefore sidewalk=* makes sense. On the other hand highway=cycleway does indicate that the road is specifically designed for bicycles. If there is an infrastructure for pedestrians, is it still a road designed for bicycles only?
So in my opinion, even though thisv s signed as cycleway, this should be tagged as highway=path in “osm-like sense”, as this is not really a cycleway if an infrastructure for pedestrians is present. If this is possible then, technically, motoroways can have sidewalks too?

EDIT as I just noticed that. Does the third option even work in navigations? If there is no foot=yes on the line, navigations would assume that the road is for bicycles only, sidewalk=* does not indicate access.

Either the cycleway is segregated or it has a sidewalk, the tags ought to be mutually exclusive. If it has a sidewalk, then StreetComplete should be tagging surface=* and sidewalk:surface=* rather than cycleway:surface=* and footway:surface=*

I think any mapping activity should have a practical use: we are mapping for the map user, and if they’re not interested in the data we provide, we shouldn’t collect it just for the sake of collecting data.

If there is no legal reason to map Dutch-style cycle&footways differently, then we should look for another practical reason to map them differently. One such reason could be that the kerb separating the cycleway from the footway is so high that it is an obstacle for wheelchair users. I am most familiar with the cycling network in Lelystad (where I grew up); there the kerbs are usually very low so they don’t form a barrier for wheelchair users (this one, for instance https://maps.app.goo.gl/2LqV4sdiAf4QfgdBA ). We could use the"Dutch" tagging scheme to express that there is a kerb between the cycleway and the footway, and that it is high enough (>3 cm, see Key:kerb - OpenStreetMap Wiki ) to be a significant barrier for wheelchairs. We could recommend that the situation you posted above should be tagged according to 3. in my initial post, and the situation I posted in this post should be tagged according to 1. or 2. This would create a practical reason to differentiate between the tagging schemes. That is assuming that wheelchair users do sometimes need to cross these kerbs (can’t think of good examples now)… Edit: situations like this maybe? https://maps.app.goo.gl/9XbZvohJfNadLrEB8

Semantically a sidewalk implies segregation of the two.

Yes, regardless of the presence or absence of segregated=yes.

  • highway=primary: general road for road users (cars, bicycles, etc.), may have sidewalks.
  • highway=cycleway: way for bicycles (and depending on the tagging, mofa, moped), may have sidewalks.

Both allow pedestrians, unless otherwise excluded, and in the case of the Netherlands use of the sidewalk is mandatory if present.

Yes, a dedicated cycleway with a sidewalk alongside it, is still a dedicated cycleway.

See the photo I posted. The sidewalk there is, in OSM terms, an attribute of the cycleway, not part of it. This affects the placement of the mapped ways. Sidewalks often have lowered kerbs where they cross the cycleway they are built alongside, which is another distinguishing feature from a combined foot/cycleway. Legally the sidewalk of a cycleway is also distinct (RVV 4.1, 4.2), but that is not relevant here.

The distinction lies in whether the sidewalk is considered a section of the cycleway (which holds true for combined cycleways/footways) or an attribute of the cycleway like it is for streets. This distinction can be subtle and may even be country-specific, but for most Dutch cycleways falls squarely in the ‘attribute’ category due to the high level of segregation of traffic flows where needed.


I think this part was missed as I added it later, but are additional access tags added to those cycleways? If there are not, they are tagged as cycleways with sidewalks that noone can use, which doesn’t make sense (highway=cycleway indicate it is only for bicycles unless addidtional access tags are added).
If there are access tags, then 2nd and 3rd method are the same, only one use segregated=* and one sidewalk=*. We can simply just use one of them in case.

And unless the national default access values say otherwise. This is addressed here. A cycleway in the Netherlands tagged with only highway=cycleway will route pedestrians unless the router completely ignores the documented defaults. There are several countries where the default foot value is yes (or another permissive value) for highway=cycleway.