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This should be shoulder=paved/unpaved, not yes/no. Otherwise this sign wouldn't make much sense. --NE2 21:59, 4 August 2010 (BST)

Adding Shoulder.surface

Maybe add shoulder.surface={same values as the regular surface tag}?

I must admit than many values do not really apply but ...

Extract from

surface = {paved / unpaved / asphalt / concrete / paving_stones / cobblestone / metal / wood / grass_paver / gravel / pebblestone / grass / ground / earth / dirt / mud / sand / ice_road}

If shoulder=yes and shoulder.surface is not present, it is assumed shoulder.surface=paved

Shoulder=yes is a given for almost any (rural) road. The shoulder is simply the clear area that you pull into if you break down. It may simply be grass. --NE2 00:45, 5 August 2010 (BST)
Based on NE2 comment, I understand that if no shoulder tag specified, we must assume as default shoulder=yes and shoulder.surface=unpaved --[Tremblad, 9 August 2010]
I like very much shoulder.surface than shoulder.paved alternative. By default, I don't assume nothing. As we don't assume nothing in maxspeed or other highways features. But if we have to put something by default, I only assume that shoulder=yes. The surface is dependant on countries and type of roads. But it's just an opinion.--Xan 15:12, 9 August 2010 (BST)
In France, shoulder paved called bande dérasée is different from an emergency where all traffic is forbidden lane. A bande dérasée is necessarily paved, otherwise it is a low side. So in France shoulder:surface=unpaved can not exist. --Zoubiddaaa (talk) 15:54, 6 September 2014 (UTC)


I'm thinking that instead of shoulder:side={left,right,both}: where is the shoulder? perhaps it might be better to use shoulder:{left,right,both} = ...

So instead of shoulder:side=left you would do shoulder:left=yes.

This way you can do,


I guess you could also do this with shoulder:side, but this way it seems you can universally apply the practice of feature(:{left|right})?(:attribute)*=...

Just a thought.Aharvey 09:33, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

I'm agree with you. Please modify the proposal. Better this way.--Xan 15:37, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

forward and backward

Wondering if using the forward and backward values would be better than right and left. This would bring the syntax into alingment with, for instance, the lanes syntax. In this case, for a roadway segment, you would have shoulder:forward=yes and/or shoulder:backward=yes. In this variation, I would suggest not using shoulder=both but rather just use the two shoulder:forward and shoulder:backward both with yes values to indicate both; I would also suggest not using shoulder=no or shoulder:forward=no, but rather let the absence of a value indicate the absence of a shoulder. --Ceyockey 17:08, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

This doesn't work on a one-way road. --NE2 19:24, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
I thought it would. Are not 'forward' and 'backward' relative to the direction that the way is drawn, so that on a oneway road in the US, forward would always be on the right and backward would always be on the left? --Ceyockey 12:39, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Forward and backward are in relation to the direction of the way and actual real-world movement along the way. For example, maxspeed:forward applies not only to vehicles in the main lanes and right shoulder, but also to bikes being driven against traffic on the left shoulder (which is legal, at least in Florida, if it's a shoulder and not a bike lane). --NE2 16:17, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
If I understand correctly, 'forward/backward' should only be used for things which relate directly to movement (e.g. speed limit), whereas 'right/left' should be used for static properties of the roadway. Is that a correct interpretation? --Ceyockey 22:49, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Basically. The two do overlap, however, when dealing with static properties that should only be used in one direction, like a bike lane. --NE2 01:18, 15 January 2013 (UTC)


I've applied the shoulder syntax I described to the Bear Tybouts Road appearing in the view . This has several variations in shoulder values along its short length. I've not put a surface value as I would expect this to come from survey results and this is just armchair mapping. --Ceyockey 17:16, 13 January 2013 (UTC)


I was thinking about this during a very long ride over the weekend, when I plenty of time to contemplate highway shoulders :) I decided there are 5 grades of quality:

  • A: as good as, or better than, the main road surface.
  • B: almost as good as the main road surface. Cycle tourists will happily ride here, road bikers will only do so if there's traffic.
  • C: significantly worse. Bearable for short stretches if necessary. Cracked pavement, weeds, lower grade asphalt.
  • D: very soft, dirt or sand with gravel. A mountain bike can force their way through, but for everyone else it's pretty much unrideable.
  • E: no shoulder: grass, vegetation, or obstacles.
    I struck out 'grass' as this would generally go into either C or D; lots of "shoulders" are just grass on the roadside which people will drive onto. --Ceyockey 12:45, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

I think "quality relative to main surface" is probably the better approach than absolute surface indications like "paved" etc. Stevage 02:34, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Why not smoothness:shoulder to go along with smoothness=*? --NE2 04:19, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
There are also situations where trying to pull off the road is downright dangerous, particularly if there is a drop-off into a drainage ditch. One might extend the letters to "F: Beware - drop-off or other significant danger." This is particularly a problem in rural agricultural areas in the US. --Ceyockey 12:45, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

tag shoulder like sidewalk

I think it would be better to use the same tagging style as for sidewalk. Which means that the side of the shoulder would be tagged directly with the main tag:

  • shoulder=yes
  • shoulder=no
  • shoulder=right
  • shoulder=left
  • shoulder=both
I agree that this would be preferable. --Tordanik

Parking lane

If there is a parking lane next to the curb (e.g., in a retail area), does shoulder=* apply there? Or is this for areas that are expected to be relatively clear for use in emergencies or for bike travel? Germyb (talk) 02:17, 25 September 2017 (UTC)