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Public-images-osm logo.svg bicycle = optional_sidepath
Radwegschaeden by Karl-Ludwig Poggemann.jpg
Optional (none compulsory) cycleway aside Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: restrictions
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
Status: in use

This tag bicycle=optional_sidepath applies only to roads with a classification that allows cycling generally.

When a road has a parallel compulsory cycleway (e.g. Zeichen 240.svg (DE, PL), Zeichen 241.svg (DE, FI, IT, PL), Nederlands verkeersbord G12a.svg (NL) or Nederlands verkeersbord G11.svg (several European countries)) bicycle=use_sidepath must be applied.

When a road has a parallel optional cycleway (e.g. without Zeichen 240.svg,Zeichen 241.svg or Zeichen 237.svg in DE or a special sign for optional cyceways e.g. Nederlands verkeersbord G13.svg (NL) or Hinweiszeichen 27.svg (FR, AT)) bicycle=optional_sidepath can be applied.

But only when this road does not have a traffic sign which explicitly forbids bicycling (e.g. Nederlands verkeersbord C14.svg or Nederlands verkeersbord C9.svg ). In that case use bicycle=no.

How to tag

This tag indicates whether cycle ways are not compulsory.


cycleway=separate (cycleway:left=separate / cycleway:right=separate / cycleway:both=separate variants) may indicate, if a separate (cycle)way is drawn there. But it does not make any statement about whether that separately mapped cycle path is compulsory or not.

bicycle=use_sidepath should not be used in combination with cycleway=track or cycleway=lane on the main highway, if there is no separate cycleway drawn on the map, because this may confusing routing engines. bicycle=optional_sidepath should not cause this problem, so it may be used in this combinations, too. But be aware, that solving this routing problem by finding another solution for bicycle=use_sidepath in this combinations may also change the use of bicycle=optional_sidepath for this combinations.

Because bicycle=optional_sidepath may be used also in cases, where the alternative way nearby may be not only a cycleway, but also a sidewalk, where cyclists are allowed, or a track, cycleway=separate still may be usefull.

To indicate a one-way optional cycleway use a directional subkey, e.g. bicycle:forward=optional_sidepath. Choose between :forward and :backward depending on the optional cycle direction relative to the direction of the OSM way way for the main road. The cycleways OSM direction is not important.

In some countries compulsory and none compulsory cycleways are divided by different signs:

  • France, Austria, ...: compulsory: Vorschriftszeichen 16.svg versus none compulsory: Hinweiszeichen 27.svg
  • Netherlands: compulsory: Nederlands verkeersbord G11.svg versus none compulsory: Nederlands verkeersbord G13.svg

In some countries compulsory and none compulsory cycleways are divided by law:

  • Germany: compulsory: Zeichen 240.svg, Zeichen 241.svg or Zeichen 237.svg versus none compulsory: without this signs, but still identifiable as cycleway, that might be
    • a segregration of footway and cycleway by different colors of paving stones or a white line like used for Zeichen 241.svg
    • a white sign on the ground, that looks like a Zeichen 240.svg (see here) or without a pedestrian symbol,
    • a road sign Zusatzzeichen 1022-10.svg without(!) Zeichen 239.svg or Zusatzzeichen 1010-52 - Radverkehr (600x330), StVO 2017.svg or something similar, that looks like a Zeichen 240.svg, but black on white
    • might be also (but unsure): a passage for cyclists leading on the way, guideposts, ...

This cases are none compulsory, but still designated for cyclists

Other cases of optional sidepaths:

  • Germany:
    • Zeichen 239.svg+Zusatzzeichen 1022-10.svg: The way is optional for cyclists and alsou not designated for cyclists!
    • Zeichen 260.svg(+Zusatzzeichen 1026-36.svg): If a track comes along with the highway, it may have this signs instead of Zeichen 240.svg+Zusatzzeichen 1026-36.svg, than it is optional, not compulsory and not designated for cyclists

For all cases: The cycleway should clearly belong to the total street. If it is to far away from the street and does not share the same crosings, it ist not the cycleway of this street, but a separate cycleway and the main highway should not get bicycle=use_sidepath or bicycle=optional_sidepath.


Picture Tags
Fietspad PeeWee32.jpg
This cycleway is compulsory.

Main road:
Nederlands verkeersbord G13.svg (NL)
Signal C113.svg (FR, AT)
Zusatzzeichen 1022-10.svg or 434c Radw ohne Benupfli St-Jürgen-Str HB.jpg (DE)
These cycleways are not compulsory.
Cycling is allowed on the adjacent roads, too.

Main road:
Slovenska cesta kolo nezazeleno 2.jpg
In this street, cycling is explicitly not
on the "road" (carriageway).
bicycle=no (explicit bicycle ban)


In Germany since Juli 2022 this map shows use_sidepath and optional_sidepath.


bicycle:forward=optional_sidepath    bicycle:backward=optional_sidepath


In 2017 User:Schienennagelhammerträger started using this tagging in his former home city because of a high percentage of none compulsory cycleways there to distinguish them from compulsory cycleways. After spreading this tagging into other regions by other users e.g. Berlin, it is time to say, that it is "in use".

See also