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This question is about those forest trails that exist primarily beause a lot of people have used them (unpaved), or may be gravel paved but narrow and not suitable for normal bicycle use.

Are they highway=path, bicycle=no - or highway=footpath - or are both eually fine?

The picture in the UI of the new simple tag system in Potlatch implies that footpaths are constructed paths...

What about mountain bikes? Many such trails are rideable by mountain-bike, but it may not be allowed (which means that you could ride that trail on a normal bike - if you'd be willing to do that to your bicycle)

But other trails would not be rideable by a normal bicycle under any circumstances, only an mbt would do.

What I am after it some thing like this

  • highway=trail
  • bicycle=possible

Regards, Hans Olav

asked 16 Jul '11, 08:17

Hans%20O%20Nymand's gravatar image

Hans O Nymand
accept rate: 0%

You should tag them with highway=path and use mtb:scale for bicycle classification. Further tags like sac_scale, surface or trail_visibility might be useful, too. Using these tags allows a better classification than the rather simple highway=trail.

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answered 16 Jul '11, 09:03

scai's gravatar image

scai ♦
accept rate: 23%

The bicycle tag is for the legal access rights for cycling along that path, on any type of (non-motorised) bike. So this will depend on general access rights in your country, plus any local by-laws or restrictions.

If you have a general right to cycle along that path, it should be tagged as bicycle=yes. If cycling is generally allowed by landowner, that can be tagged as bicycle=permissive. If cycling is forbidden, then bicycle=no.

Then use extra tags (eg mtb:scale) for how easy it is to cycle along it, or whether a mountain bike is required.

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answered 16 Jul '11, 13:15

Vclaw's gravatar image

accept rate: 22%

edited 16 Jul '11, 13:16

This kind of path is often called a "footpad" - a trail that exists only through the action of feet on soil. There isn't a good, official way to describe it in OSM. highway=trail sounds ok, but it has very little usage.

I did just discover "highway=path, path=hiking". Maybe that's suitable?

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answered 16 Jul '11, 14:16

Stevage's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


FYI, planners call these trails 'desire lines' or 'desire trails'. They sometimes reroute official trails to follow them. I agree there is no clear way to designate them in potlatch, and indicating their accessibility to bikes is difficult for some of us to assess.

(16 Jul '11, 17:19) gpsdork

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question asked: 16 Jul '11, 08:17

question was seen: 5,116 times

last updated: 16 Jul '11, 17:19

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