Useless and dangerous practice of tagging motorways as cycle routes

I’ve been noticing the very common practice of tagging motorways as “national/regional cycling routes” on OSM within Australia. Although cycling is often allowed along arterial roads in Australia, they can hardly constitute as “cycle routes”.

Firstly, from an engineering perspective, these types of infrastructure (usually just bicycle symbols painted at regular intervals on motorway shoulders next to 100km/h+ traffic) simply don’t provide enough convenience or safety for most people cycling. The #1 purpose of a cycle route is to provide an attractive/easy way between destinations; however, motorways are both subjectively (for most people) and statistically unsafe, which leads them to being extremely unpopular.

From the perspective of a mapper, everything should be as true as possible (or at least that’s what most people hope for). Most of the time, these mapped cycle routes along major arterials are no more than painted symbols + possibly diamond cycle caution signs; they aren’t officially endorsed to be specific cycling routes whatsoever.

A much more useful approach would be to just tag these types of infrastructure as bicycles=designated and cycleway=shoulder; this is used for similar situations throughout the Netherlands (the nation with the highest cycling modal-share), where only truly useful routes are mapped. The Sydney Cycle Routes wiki doesn’t make this clear ( - RMS states that improved shoulders on motorways permit cycling unless signposted to the contrary. These infrastructures can follow large long distance routes, and have occasionally been mapped as cycle routes where appropriate on-the-ground signage or facilities indicate. It is unlikely that these constitute a “national cycle network”.).

Any thoughts?