NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum

My local bicycle club is wondering how we might help visiting bicyclists with their safe route planning? We have local knowledge about the safety and quality of the roads in our area for biking and would like to store this data and make it easily available to other cyclists visiting our area. What do you suggest? We were thinking about setting up a formal grading system of A thru F, that our members could use to make objective ratings, and then once reviewed by our club we would then like to provide this in a mapping utility such as this "OpenStreetMap" thing for safe route planning by visiting cyclists.

asked 17 Nov '14, 21:25

scaetd's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 18 Nov '14, 11:59

SimonPoole's gravatar image

SimonPoole ♦

In general, OpenStreetMap prefers discrete, observable content to aggregate ratings. There have been some attempts to propose bike-friendly ratings in the past but these have generally not found favour, not least because no two cyclists are the same - one person's "A" might be another's "D".

Instead, please do add the individual, factual observations. For bike routing, these might include:

  • Surface type
  • Presence and type of cycle lane
  • Maximum motor vehicle speed
  • Aggregate motor traffic levels (this isn't generally recorded in OSM at the moment, but it could be)
  • Signalled crossings

With such information, you can produce really good cycle routing for your chosen audience, without pre-judging the preferences of other types of cyclist. In the UK, for example, OSM-based bike routing is provided by (disclaimer: my site!), CycleStreets, and GPX Editor, each of which makes its own decisions from the above data to provide the results most suited to its particular audience.

permanent link

answered 17 Nov '14, 21:47

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%


Cycle club members are not civil engineers capable of doing a formal "road safety audit", yet their collective agreement by vote of their membership or executive committee on a simple "scored grade" of A thru F for a road segment should suffice as "fact" and thus usable within your OSM framework. Certainly each particular club should try to use the same assessment guidelines.

Alas, a formal "road safety audit" per the U.S. Dept. of Transportation is quite complex and appears to require engineering capability but here is a link to their information on this standard method:

Certainly this problem has already been solved somewhere else in the world?

(18 Nov '14, 01:10) scaetd

One problem is that "one cycle club is not like another". You'll get one group that like to pootle around the back roads; another that likes long straight main roads because they want to go fast in a straight line; another that likes hills and dales; etc. etc. That's why objective measurements, where possible, are better than subjective ones.

(18 Nov '14, 01:20) SomeoneElse ♦

There's no suggestion of doing a formal "road safety audit". Just record what you see. That's what OpenStreetMappers have been doing every day for the past 10 years; that's how we've built the world's best map; and that's how, in other countries, OSM data is powering dozens of websites and apps to find safe bike routes.

Given that you're in the US, here's a simple way to get started. Lots of roads are tagged as "residential" when in fact they're just rough tracks, gravel roads or whatever. This is a big problem for bike routers - and one you can easily fix in your local area!

(18 Nov '14, 08:53) Richard ♦

There are other related grading for surface already in OSM, but these are relatively rarely used tagging. Is there any contributing factor to the audit which isn't being tagged as present. A map or tool will then be able use those different attribute to then built a A-F grade.

As an example look at Open Trip Planner and how it uses the current OSM tagging to construct a bicycle safety score.

(07 Jul '20, 11:49) DevonshireBoy42

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 17 Nov '14, 21:25

question was seen: 3,566 times

last updated: 07 Jul '20, 11:49

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum