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Public-images-osm logo.svg class:bicycle
Cable Street cycle superhighway.jpg
mark particularly desirable or undesirable routes Edit or translate this description.
Group: Bicycles
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasmay be used on relations
Status: unspecified


class:bicycle=* and related keys can be used as an additional hint for bicycle routes which are not adequately described by "objective" tags -- where certain routes are highly desirable or undesirable for reasons for which there is currently no good tagging (nice or ugly scenery, unfriendly dogs, hard to avoid pedestrians, dangerous traffic, bad visibility of cyclists behind parked cars...)

It should not be used where other attributes (e.g. highway=tertiary, lanes=2, oneway=yes, maxspeed=30, incline=45%) are considered adequate description.

There are various subclasses of class:bicycle to accommodate for various types of and needs of cyclists (such as touring, mtb, commute, roadcycling, trailer).

The value of the key should express desirability/practicability for a particular class with values between -3 (least desirable) to 3 (highly desirable)

Not to be confused with the classification of bicycle facilities used in North American transportation planning: Class I (bike path, or separate facility), Class II (bike lane), Class III (bike route).

Usage and subclasses

The main key is class:bicycle with values -3 to 3 (least desirable to most desirable). Subkeys can be used where significant differences between various types of bicycle usage exist and up or downhill.

Subkeys are mtb, commute, touring, roadcycling, trailer, non_experienced to be combined with downhill and uphill as necessary.

Example - class:bicycle:mtb:uphill=1.

Applies to any way or relation suitable for cycling (including mountain biking, road cycling, touring,....)

  • class:bicycle=* - General key for all types of cycling
    • class:bicycle:mtb=* - Cross country mountainbiking. Use for telling the autorouter that a way should be preferred for mountainbiking. To be used used in addition to keys mtb:scale; mtb:scale:uphill. Typical bicycle: Hardtail or Fully Mountainbike with "fat" tires (>1.95")
      • class:bicycle:mtb:technical=* - Technical mountainbiking. Not every difficult way (mtb:scale) has to be nice for allmountain, enduro or freeride use.
    • class:bicycle:commute=* - Cycling as a mean of transportation, getting quick from A to B on reasonably safe roads.
    • class:bicycle:touring=* - Cycletouring and Trekking. Avoiding ugly and dull landscapes, avoiding cars. Typical bicycle: Trekking bike with medium width tires (1.3"-1.7").
    • class:bicycle:roadcycling=* - Road cycling for Recreation/Sport. Typical bicycle: Racing bike with thin tires (<1.25")
    • class:bicycle:trailer=* - towing a toddler/luggage trailer needs special planning of the route (usually width and surface and barries should be enough)
    • class:bicycle:non_experienced=* - Sunday cyclist who is inexperienced; children and elderly

E.g. a primary road inside the city with cycleway=lane with high motorist traffic allows a very quick mean of getting from A to B and there is no suitable alternative road nearby. For the "average" cyclist this way is only suitable to get from A to B. It is however not a way where any cyclist group loves to go along when cycling recreationally. We can put:

  • class:bicycle:commute=+1

Therefore we make clear that the way is suited for getting from A to B, but not a good choice for cycling in general. We do not need to put down: class:bicycle=-2 because it is better to the keys (if they don't exist yet, we should add them): oneway=yes; lanes=2: highway=primary; source:maxspeed=local already tell us that the way is not well suited for cycling.


Class Description in OSM Why needed here? Ex. Pictures
class:bicycle=1 highway=unclassifed/tertiary & cycleway=track Because there is a park to one side, no traffic can be expected from there. Also the track is wide enough to cycle at ones own speed (slow or fast) Cycle nexttoroad.jpg
class:bicycle:mtb=2 highway=path & mtb:scale=0 & sac_scale=hiking Make it stick out from the rest of ways. Lovely scenery. S0.jpg
Mountain hiking.jpg
class:bicycle:mtb:technical=1 highway=path & mtb:scale=3 In such an altitude many ways vary in difficulty a lot, and finding ways for mtbiking is not easy. Assumption most of the trail is ridable. S3.jpg
class:bicycle:roadcycling=-2 cycleway=track & highway=tertiary/secondary Very dangerous to ride quickly here as separated from street behind cars, but has to be used by law. Riding fast is not possible. Nice for the "Sunday cyclyist" though. Copenhagen Style Bike Lane.jpg

Examples where no class:bicycle is needed

Description Why not needed? Picture
highway=path & surface=ground & mtb:scale=0+ This is a typical path like many others. Standard keys are enough for describing it. GuideFootPathCycleYes.jpg
highway=trunk & lanes=2 & oneway=yes & bicycle=yes The normal tags are enough to know that this street is not nice for the average cyclist. Dscf0444 600.jpg


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.
Try to to avoid using 0 but decide on -1 or +1.
class:bicycle shall only be used as an additional key.
  • "1" = Prefer
  • "2" = Very Nice way to cycle
  • "3" = This way is so nice, it pays out to make a detour also if this means taking
many unsuitable ways to get here. Outstanding for its intended usage class.

The principle is here to keep it nice and simple.

General Factors to decide on a value for class:bicycle


  • cars: how many cars are there? Is there enough space for them to safely pass or are dangerous situations common?
  • pedestrians: how many pedestrians?. Is there a clear separation between cyclists and pedestrians, and if so, is that separation respected or are there families with children and dogs walking into your way forcing you to reduce speed and/or brake often.
  • bicycle traffic: 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.

Cycleway=cyclelane / cycletrack negative

In countries where the presence of a cycleways 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?

Keys that Routing Programs should consider in addition to class:bicycle

The principle of class:bicycle is that it is used as additional factor. It is not supposed to replace common objective keys.

The list below shall be a list of the most popular keys that help describing the cyclability of a way.

  • route relations - the router can be assume that routes follow suitable ways.

Maps for GPS or Autorouting Programs using this key

No key or tag in OSM can be suitable without maps/programs pushing them. This is a list of maps that already use not only the class:bicycle scheme, but also already consider all keys in the "objective list", or that are in strong favour of it and will implement the scheme soon.

Usage Stats

class:bicycle=* and class:bicycle:mtb=* have each over 5000 counts of usage in November 2014.


Please put them on the talk page. Please copy and adapt class:key for other usages like horseriding or hiking, but open up new pages for this and link them back here so good ideas can be taken over.

Voice your support or constructive objection

Add some personal comments on this key with one catch: You have actively worked on implementing autorouting or at least though about it and used programs that make use of OSM data for autorouting. No harm folks, but many people objecting subjective keys have no clue about how to implement nice autorouting, and should therefore simply shut up or provide an alternative solution before one can take their comments to be constructive. Please use this page and explain why you support this key, or add short statements how you could do it differently.

  • As someone who has worked on auto routing before, both with CycleStreets and CloudMade, I can tell you that you don't need this tag. You just need to be clever enough with all the other objective tags out there and you can get good routing, without this subjective tag. Smsm1 22:13, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Please see Routino, which already takes into account multiple lanes, bridges, tunnels, highway preferences and bicycle/walking routes. So its just a matter of figuring out the parameters that you prefer for your trip, which is also much more flexible then a single tag stating the preference of a single person. Dranuhl 31 December 2010
  • Please don't use this tag. --Richard,


Based on ideas brought forward Cycleworth and Talk:Cheltenham Standard

See also