Proposed features/Tag:path=mtb

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Tag:path=mtb
Status: Proposed (under way)
Proposed by: aharvey
Tagging: path=mtb
Drafted on: 2020-04-19

Proposal

highway=path + path=mtb is proposed as the way to map a mountain bike track, not a just any path which are allowed to ride a mountain bike, but something that is created or built as a mountain bike track, or officially designated or mostly use as a mountain bike track.

It's important to note that path=mtb is not the same as mtb=yes, the latter is an access tag simply says mountain bikes are allowed to use this way, the former says this is a mountain bike track.

There are a few indicators which can help evaluate what is a mountain bike track,

  • often signage will be present to indicate such, other indicators include,
  • the way the track has been built
    • soil or other structures built on corners to allow a greater bank angle
    • carefully placed stones on the track
  • then depending on the difficulty and type of mountain bike track, technical features like
    • jumps
    • ramps
    • narrow bridges / logs
    • drops

This tag does not make a distinction between officially designated mountain bike tracks and unsanctioned (no official endorsement) mountain bike tracks, as they are both mountain bike tracks. Therefore signage is not required.

Not all paths used by mountain bikers should necessarily be tagged this way, as sometimes it might be a regular highway=path (eg if it doesn't meet the criteria above) or highway=track.

Rationale

mtb:scale=* and mtb:scale:imba=* are approved methods to mark the difficultly/skill level needed for mountain bike tracks, but require an evaluation of the difficulty which is not always possible. Furthermore, mtb:scale=* can be used on non-mountain bike track ways, like on a highway=track so cannot be used an indicator that the way is a mountain bike track.

highway=path alone is used to map generic (unspecified use) paths which mountain bike tracks are not, however per this proposal the presence of path=mtb changes this meaning to say this is not a generic (unspecified use) path, it's a specific path, a mountain bike path.

Whilst highway=cycleway seems like it should apply to mountain bike tracks and urban cycle paths equally, given it's definition is a way designated for use/designed for/mostly used by bicycles and mountain biking is a type of cycling, recent discussions on the mailing list overwhelmingly rejected highway=cycleway for use on mountain bike tracks, so this proposal provides a community accepted approach to map mountain bike tracks.

Further bicycle=* and mtb=* are mode-specific access tags and don't indicate what kind of path it is. The same way foot=yes doesn't mean the way is a highway=footway.

The creation of a new highway=* value, specifically for mountain bike tracks is not ideal as requires too much coordination with data consumers for something that is already in widespread use.

While leisure=track was proposed on the recent mailing list discussion as applying to all mountain bike tracks, however as many mountain bike tracks act more like paths than short BMX pump circuits or bicycle veledromes, it is not part of this proposal.

route=mtb is used to map mountain bike routes, but since a mountain bike route may go over a range of actual way types it's not alone an indicator of mountain bike tracks.

Examples

Tagging

According to this proposal, highway=cycleway is re-defined to not apply to mountain bike tracks, instead mountain bike tracks are tagged as highway=path + path=mtb.

By default mtb=yes is implied on highway=path + path=mtb, but where the track is signposted for mountain bikes you can add mtb=designated to mark it as officially designated.

foot=* should be set to indicate if walkers may also use the mountain bike track. foot=yes to indicate walkers are allowed (this not indicate who has right of way), foot=designated if signposted as for walkers or foot=no where walkers are not permitted. foot=discouraged may be used where signage indicates walking is allowed but officially discouraged.

Other tags which would be useful also apply independently surface=*, mtb:scale=*, mtb:scale:imba=*, smoothness=*, trail_visibility=*, trailblazed=*.

Applies to

Rendering

Features/Pages affected

Mountain biking

External discussions

https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/tagging/2020-April/051864.html

Comments

Please comment on the discussion page.