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I live near a road that is very narrow, winding, with reasonable gradient, and a 40 mph speed limit. There is no pavement alongside the road for a pedestrian to walk. This is the UK so by right any pedestrian can walk on this road.

I would argue walking on this road is dangerous due to the above-mentioned conditions, yet all OSM-sourced routing softwares direct me to walk this road. There are ample safer alternatives such as footpaths and roadside pavements that increase the distance to walk by ~300 m.

Is there a way to tag a road as open to pedestrians but dangerous? If there are, do any routing softwares take note of it?

asked 08 Feb '16, 10:00

iainrist's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I sympathise, here's my example:, Spring Lane in Cookham Dean.

Undoubtedly the first thing to add is sidewalk=none. This is the single most useful tag which could be used by routers to optimise for safer routes. There is also the very little used verges tag which looks to take similar values to sidewalk. Also adding a note is a useful start in case we develop more elaborate ways of tagging this.

I don't know of any router which explicitly makes use of this, but it is eminently possible. I would not be surprised if SomeoneElse doesn't use sidewalk in his own Garmin mkgmap routine.

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answered 08 Feb '16, 11:33

SK53's gravatar image

SK53 ♦
accept rate: 22%


It should also be helpful to add width. If it is not much more than the average passenger car (which is IIRC 2.1m wide) this could also point out the discomfort pedestrians may experience on that road.

I am a little surprised (and disappointed, too), that you as one of the nearly ideal mappers describe the width in words but not as machine readable tag. :)

(08 Feb '16, 11:54) malenki

@malenki I've never walked along that road since 2006, long before OSM days. Too scary. So I do have an excuse.

(08 Feb '16, 12:06) SK53 ♦

Another suggestion (not much used yet) is the "verge" tag: . There may be others.

(10 Oct '16, 16:56) SomeoneElse ♦

There are a number of cycle routers which consider safety such as Cycle-UK or Open Trip Planner. They look at the common tagging and generate a "safety factor", the user then can choose a combination of flatness, safety and directness. A similar thing can and should be done for walk routing.

As per other comments make it bendy, sidewalk=none, verge=none, add a width or est_width tag and speed limit.

Then push for the routing tool you use to consider adding a safety factor from those tags for walking.

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answered 08 Jul '20, 10:51

DevonshireBoy42's gravatar image

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Consider also using foot=no to tag ways with no pedestrian access.

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answered 21 Feb '16, 00:43

Rhubarb's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


"This is the UK so by right any pedestrian can walk on this road." (from iainrist above) So, your suggested legal access restriction should not be used here.

(21 Feb '16, 00:55) aseerel4c26 ♦

A lot of my local lanes are 60MPH and have pedestians cyclists and horses on them regularly.

They work withen an older part of the law that says that could drive as fast as you liked (pre-speedlimits) and if you could not safely handle the road or other traffic and obsticals then you could be prosercuted and even held in prison for murder if in a fatal accident.

Speed limits used to be a guide to triming the top speed of faster vehicals especially when improvements relying sightlines and speed-to-sign_size made roads work at up to design speeds before problems for avearge drivers, could occur.

If you can't stop for a drover with cattle or hikers around a blind bend then you can still be deemed as going too fast for the "Conditions". If that dosn't make sence think about the messages to slow with rain, snow and ice it's the same or similar part of the law.

Maps don't often try to handel this leveing it to driver/rider descrestion though some sharp bend and crests can be added sometimes though I'm not sure how OSM tags them at the moment.

(01 Mar '16, 19:40) Govanus

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question asked: 08 Feb '16, 10:00

question was seen: 4,266 times

last updated: 08 Jul '20, 10:51

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