Proposed features/Cycleworth

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Status: Abandoned (inactive)
Proposed by: Extremecarver
Tagging: cycleworth=-3,-2,-1,0,1,2,3
Applies to: linear
Definition: describe whether it is worth to take a way for cycling or not
Drafted on:
Proposed on: 2009-06-13

Rationale - Cycleworth - a key to describe whether it is worth to take a way for cycling or not

Just like people grade cycle or mtb tours on gps tracks portals with stars, this key should do the same for cyclways. There are many existing tabs, but it is impossible to really use them to know whether it is worth to use a road or not.

Cycleworth shall give a key, or a set of keys that describes whether or not, a way is good to use IN RELATION TO OTHER WAYS THAT YOU COULD THINK OF TO GET FROM A TO B. So if a city is cyclefriendly, then achieving a good grade should be difficult, if however a city is not friendly for cyclists, and the best way to get through the city is by using a secondary street, well then that street should get a rather good grade, even if it is not so good for cycling. It should then get "2". "3" Should really be reserved for the best ways only.

Applies to

Any way or relation suitable for cycling (including mountainbiking, road cycling, touring,....)


This key is mainly intended to allow on a quick grasp if you should take way A or way B. It also shall be useful for autorouting! Therefore it has to be well defined and not too complex.

It is simply impossbible to use all these keys describe here to decide for a computer (GPS) whether or not it should take the way: Cycle_routes/cyclability

The objective is to think of this like a grading system where you can give stars from 0-5 to say whether you like the way or not, based on different usage classes. More or less the same that authorities use when they define where a cycleroute or a mtbroute is going along. It should be escpecially helpfull for you GPS to decide which way to take!

Usage and Classes

There should be a clear classification difference however for the following use classes:

  • Mountainbiking
  • Cycling as a mean of getting quick from A to B (however not at the expense of using big roads only, but a way you would cycle to work every day happily)
  • Cycletouring
  • Roadcycling (meaning on a racing bike)

General use: key=cycleworth values=-3 to +3

To further define usage classes usage of the following keys is advocated:

  • key=cycleworth_mtb
  • Key=cycleworth_touring (for cycletouring with touring bicycle)
  • key=cycleworth_rr (for road cycling --> think training on a racing cycle)
  • key=cycleworth_transit (for getting quick from a to b, e.g. the way you take to work every day on your bicycle).


In general only -2 to +2 should be used. -3 Should declare that the way is so unsuitable that it should be avoided at all cost. +3 should be a value that indicates, it is worth making a big detour for getting here.

"-3"=Avoid at all cost.
"-2"=Only use to reach your destination, not well suited.
"-1"=Better take another way
"0"=as well as other ways around
"2"=Very Nice way to cycle
"3"=This way is so nice to make a detour.

The principle is here to keep it nice and simple.

General Factors to decide on a value for key=cycleworth

Should be listed here, but be subjective factors not objective. This should only be a guideline/recommendation.



How many cars are there? Is there enough space for them to safely overtake, or is space limited and car users will take over dangerously? Are cars allowed at all?


Is there a clear seperation between cyclists and pedestrians, and if so, is that seperation respected or are many pedestrians walking into your way forcing you to reduce speed and/or brake often

Other cyclists

When you go out on your roadcycle to train, you don't want to have slow "weekend cyclists" in your way. Best are usually roads not cycleways.

Highway=cycleway Positive Factors

Well built and quick... others... (please add)

Cycleway=cyclelane / cycletrack negative

In countries where the presence of a cycleway obliges you to use them: Can you go fast, or do you have to go slower than you could on the road. Is there increased danger because of cars not seeing you? Crossing Roads where car drivers will overlook you when using the cycletrack instead of the road? Parking Cars (cardrivers open the door without keeping care, cars often blocking the cycletrack/cyclelane)....

Scenery and Nature

Can you see the nice mountains around, or is endless forst blocking your view? Are there nice viewpoints on the way, Nice places to picknick alongside? On long ways outside of civilisation - is there supply to drinking water, either manmade or water from springs in the mountains?

Additional and or different Factors for the subkeys


(note that you can further describe difficulty with mtb:scale and mtb:scale:uphill, so this key should not be used to degrade or upgrade ways based on difficulty level) Is the way variable and interesting? Are there many hikers that get in your way on a fast downhill? Are there trees blocking the way too often (maybe put there to stop mountainbikers using the way)? For more difficult ways, is the difficulty steady, or is there only a very short difficult bit. ..... please continue


Can you go a steady speed here? Is it possible to cycle beneath a second person on the road, or lining up without getting into problems with cars? Is the surface in good shape, well cleaned, .... ..... please continue


Are the trafficlights switched in such a way that general cycling speed between 18-28km/h is possible without waiting, are there many trafficlights? Is the way good because it is part of some other ways that make it possible to cycle through the city from say East to West quickly? Degrade a way if there are no good connecting ways because this way is only good to reach the next block of houses 500m away. This key should help you to outline those ways, that are the "highways for cycling in the city". ..... please continue


Is the surface good enough, or are there many cobblestones. ..... please continue


Please change and append things here, this is a draft. Don't change the main objectives however. So people saying just another key is unneccessary piss off. You don't need to use it and try to continue to find out looking at a myriad of keys whether it is worth to take the way for cycling or not!!!! Also resist adding too many subkeys. Maybe 2-3 more could be good, but the more subkeys we have, the less usefull!


Please put your comments here:

The definition of "0" seems to be sensless. Example: You have two tracks between point A and B. Both should become a -3, because they are very bad. But both tracks are "as well as other ways around". So what should they become for a grade? I think its enough to have the categories mtb, touring, rr and transit. But there must be requirements for rr and touring, which the track have to fulfil. A rating could be used for the density of motorized traffic. 0=never to seldom, 1=less density, 2=normal density, 3=high density -- aighes 14 June 2009

No even if they are very bad, but no better ways around, then you should not classify them -3, maybe -2 or even -1. I think traffic should be just a factor like any other. Imagine cycling in a city like Frankfurt am Main or Vienna, you will have sometimes go along crowded roads, but of course best as few as possible. 0 in such notation system would simply mean, yes it is already classified. Maybe someday people start looking for ways that are not yet classified (just like looking for roads not yet in OSM), then having neutral descriptor helps. Of course in general bad roads should be classified rather negative than positive even in places where no good roads are around, simply to enable autorouting over longer distances to circumvent the area completely. It still has to have differentiation however between better and worse, so that fro local cycling in that area the best of the bad are chosen. If there is a well built cyclelane on the road itself, a lot of traffic is not so bad, as if there is no cyclelane. Off course most people prefer fresh air...--Extremecarver 08:38, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Ok, then I misundertood the meaning of "0". Normaly people would prefer a side steet. Also on roads out of town, this fac is interesting. Tourist normaly doesn't know the traffic density of the road between village A and B. And maybe they wouldn't use this road, if they know that there is a high traffic density. --aighes 09:37, 14 June 2009
This discussion seems to indicate that it might be more helpful to not have a general cycleworth-score but to tag the factors that go into it. With a general score, I think you quickly run into the problem of generalizability between cyclists: there are tourists that prefer a way with low traffic over one with a nice scenery; commuters might prefer low-traffic over low amount of traffic lights, etc. Since cycleworth basically is a composite score for all the factors listed in the section above, it seems to be smarter to tag those factors individually. You could then program an application that would allow you to enter your priorities (and/or create default prioties for mtb/touring/roadbike/etc.) and compute the individual cycleworth score for any road. This would also avoid some of the ambiguities for assigning a somewhat subjective general score. Harald.ithaca 08:28, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
This is in no way meant to discourage tagging the factors, but to discuss the different preference groups. Currently and for a long time to come there are equally tagged ways available for cycling, yet of which the other would be preferred by racing bikes and the other by tourers looking at scenery or avoiding windy stretches. Alv 09:20, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

This feature wasn't discussed for a long time, but IMHO it is worth beeing discussed and being used. I often was on a trail and thought: "This one is cool". Of course this is not objective, but often other bikers think similar. So I will use the tag to remember that a trail gives more or less fun compared to other trails in this region! --Tommybgoode 20:16, 4 May 2010 (UTC)