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Available languages — Key:cycleway
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Public-images-osm logo.svg cycleway
Dsc01078 clip.jpg
Cycle lanes or tracks provided within the carriageway or next to it.
Group: Cycleway
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasuse on relations unspecified
Documented values: 8
Status: Unspecified

Add the cycleway=* tag to a highway=* to map cycling infrastructure that is an inherent part of the road. This specifically applies to cycle lanes which are always a part of the road, and often also applies to separated cycle tracks if they are running parallel and next to the road.

For mapping a cycle track as its own way instead use the highway=cycleway tag, and not any of the tags described below. Also see the Bicycle page for more information about how to tag bicycle-related infrastructure in general.

Cycle lanes

A bicycle lane or class II facility is an inherent part of the road itself. It has no physical separation from the other lanes except the painting on the road. Notably, there is no curb between the cycle lane and the road. If there is a space and possibly plastic marker posts, but no physical separation, this may be called a buffered bike lane.

Dedicated cycle lanes

cycleway=lane is used to tag two-way streets where there are cycle lanes on both sides of the road, or one-way streets where there is a lane operating in the direction of main traffic flow. Consider using the cycleway:left=lane and / or cycleway:right=lane tags instead for a cycle lane which is on the left and / or right side, relative to the direction in which the way was drawn in the editor, as this describes on which side the cycle lane is. It should then be assumed that cycle traffic is allowed to flow in the customary direction for traffic on that side of the road.

Some countries have two different types of cycle lanes, one with strict segregation of cycling and motor traffic, and one with soft segregation. (There is a proposal for tagging such lanes called soft lanes.)

A contraflow cycle lane on the left side of a one-way street. Tagging: cycleway:left=opposite_lane + oneway=yes (indicates the oneway-motorcar-lane)
Use cycleway=opposite_lane for a contraflow cycle lane, that is, a cycle lane travelling in the opposite direction to other traffic on a oneway=yes road. Consider using the cycleway:left=opposite_lane or cycleway:right=opposite_lane tags instead, as this describes on which side the contraflow lane is.
Use cycleway=opposite for situations where cyclists are permitted to travel in both directions on a road which is one-way for normal traffic, in situations where there is no dedicated contra-flow lane marked for cyclists. In practice there is typically a very short section of road, sometimes called a "cycle plug", where cycles are excepted from the no-entry by means of a short lane separated by an island. These roads should normally also be tagged with oneway=yes and also oneway:bicycle=no. Streets like this are common in Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark. They are rarer in the UK, but are becoming more common due to a recent change in road signage allowing no entry signs qualified with "except cycles".

Shared cycle lanes

Shared lane with "sharrows" in Toronto, Canada
Cyclists share a lane with motor vehicles, and there are markings indicating that motorists and cyclists should share this lane. The road markings are usually there to highlight a cycle route or to remind drivers that you can cycle there. Also used for the on-road shared-lane marking called a sharrow.[1]

A contraflow bus lane which is also a contraflow cycle lane. Tagging: cycleway=opposite_share_busway
A special lane reserved for public transport on which cyclist are also allowed to bike.
In general, this indicates that cyclists share space with other traffic on this highway. This has formerly been used on cycleways which were mapped as separate ways tagged as highway=cycleway before the segregated=* tag was formalized, but this is now considered obsolete: purpose-built cycleways are assumed to be shared.

Cycle tracks

A cycle track is separated from the road by curbs, parking lots, grass verges, trees or another physical barrier, but is running parallel and next to the road. In North America this is called a protected bike lane, separated bike lane, bike path, greenway, green lane, or class I facility.

Note that a cycle track may alternatively be drawn as a separate way next to the road which is tagged as highway=cycleway. Both methods each have their pros and cons. While adding a single tag to an existing way takes less time and still often describes the cycle track accurately, a separately tagged cycle way is generally more flexible and allows to capture more detail. When mapping a cycle track as its own way, do not use any of the tags described below.

It is also of paramount importance it seems, to connect the cycle tracks to the general roads and to other paths. This is both to reflect ground truth and to aid routing algorithms, which incredibly do not 'understand' or take a chance on this by themselves, even though the distance might be less than a metre, or even if lines cross but the ways do not have merged nodes.

This indicates a cycle track which is associated with a highway. As with cycle lanes, you can use cycleway:left=track and cycleway:right=track to indicate on which side of the road the track lies, relative to the direction in which the way was drawn in the editor.
Use cycleway=opposite_track for a contraflow cycle track, that is, a cycle track travelling in the opposite direction to other traffic on a oneway=yes road. Consider using the cycleway:left=opposite_track or cycleway:right=opposite_track tags instead, as this describes on which side the contraflow track is.

Other values

Advanced stop line in Toronto
Indicates an advanced stop line or bike box at junctions. Use cycleway=asl on a node forming part of the road's way, located at the position of the secondary stop line. It is up to data users to work out the closest junction that it relates to and thus the direction of traffic that it applies to.
Used in Australia for shoulders that are navigable and legal to cycle on, where a high-speed road is legal but not useful infrastructure
See taginfo for some other commonly-used values.

Supplementary details

If tracks or lanes for bicycles are tagged on a highway, the prefix cycleway: can be used as a namespace for other tags. This has the meaning of limiting the details to just the cycleway. Additionally the namespace can be combined with :left and :right suffixes in the usual way:

This is not currently widely understood by rendering software or other data consumers. For this level of complexity, for tracks in particular, consider drawing the track as its own Wayway, parallel to the road: see highway=cycleway.

See also