Talk:Path controversy

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Some notes

  • Wheelchairs aren't a vehicle class, and thus wheelchair=* is not an access tag, it's a suitability tag, i.e. it doesn't tell if something is legal or not, it only tells if it's possible to drive a wheelchair there. So it has to be removed from the tables on this page, because we're also not saying if the paths are suitable for cyclists either.
    I think it highlights/describes quite well the distinction between a Belgium road path nohorses.jpg and Belgium road path unpaved.jpg (or even more so 06072009(045).jpg) - things that a person not in hiking shoes would expect to see classified differently. Alv 12:25, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Which country did you have in mind with "European use rights" in the table? For Belgium, a lot of the things it says in that column are completely false.
    None in particular - the name is bad - but apparently they'd apply to several countries. The tables are still kind of a work in progress, I'm trying to classify things on several variables so that some of the tables can be dropped as unintuitive or irrelevant before referring to this in the talk mailing list - if I ever do. Alv 12:25, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
  • You're missing the moped vehicle class, which can go on paths by default at least in Belgium, and I'm sure that they can in other countries as well. Although a router would probably have to discard many unpaved paths which don't have any access tags, but then we're back in the realm of suitability.
  • "Nine kinds of ways"? How did you count that? Each country will have their own set of different kinds of ways.
    Just the rows in that table. I didn't come up with any more rows, if we discard other modes (mopeds, for example) and specific traffic rules other than "is allowed/not allowed to use" and the important physical classification. The last one (snowmobile) is just a placeholder for "allowed for others only but not a road". Alv 12:27, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
  • "Is a way for both cyclists and pedestrians any different from a way signposted as "no motor vehicles"?". Well yes, they are. The traffic rules are different on those paths, so they have to be different in some way.
    The answer to the question "can i go there" is the same for both ways and for both pedestrians and cyclists and they are roughly of the same physical structure - IMO that's a good reason to use the same highway tag value and give the extra information in separate tags (be it any of traffic_sign=*, designation=*, *=designated, bicycle:maxspeed=*, whatever=*) . Alv 12:25, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I've started a list for Belgium with allowed vehicle classes here User:Eimai/Belgian_Roads#Paths (not finished), which could give you some ideas.

--Eimai 11:30, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Private cycleways

Is there a way to tag a private cycleway (e.g. one inside a large gated community) using highway=path? bicycle=designated is incorrect, since it's private, but bicycle=private doesn't tell you that it's a cycleway. (The question came up when I was thinking about how the golf cart paths in The Villages should be tagged.) --NE2 05:03, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

My personal summary


  • for walking only, much like a pavement
  • no vehicle access
  • built road (usually paved)
  • inside residential area
  • narrow road (2 meters at most)


  • "pedestrians only" residential road
  • usually no vehicle access (depends on local laws)
  • built road (usually paved)
  • inside residential area
  • wide road (at least 3 meters)


  • road which is not wide enough for a 4 wheel vehicle
  • usually motorised vehicles are not allowed
  • marked road (not built)
  • outside residential area

--Preceding unsigned comment by: User:Grin on 09:03, 17 April 2013‎

Path by itself does not imply it being narrow. Where mappers insist on using path for combined cycling and pedestrian ways, the ways are mostly at least 2.5 meters wide, or more, which is more than a passenger car requires. The width as a criteria is only relevant to highway=track, which can not be too narrow for a two tracked vehicle. Likewise, most footways I know are wider than 2 meters, but just don't allow cyclists or anyone else except for the pedestrians. Alv (talk) 08:07, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Scandinavian rules wrong (at least for both Denmark and Norway)

In the table with images, the information in the "Scandinavian" column is frequently wrong, at least for Denmark.

Most notably the "obligation to use" does not really apply to any of the photographed items, but do apply if the very same roadsigns are used on a lane at or closely parallel to a highway for cars. The general rule is that if there is a sidewalk or cycle lane, then walking/cycling in the car lanes is illegal jaywalking, but I have never heard that if there is a path in your general direction then you must go that way rather than use the road, even if that road has no dedicated lane for your mode of transport. Using the designated path is usually safer (in the absence of other hazards), but only mandatory if it functions as a lane. At least that what I was taught.

Note though that sometimes a bicycle/foot lane may be located several meters from the road with landscape barriers making it hard to see one from the other. Traditionally those cases were helpfully signposted with explicit "no pedestrians/bicycles" signs on the car road, but in recent decades this has not always been done. Jbohmdk 05:59, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

It's defined broadly speaking in the same way in all the mentioned countries: "... bane, som skal benyttes af ..." - way, that shall be used by ... (or "sti" for "D26 delt sti") - so you have an obligation to use that; I couldn't find anything that could limit the meaning of the signs to lanes on "proper" roads. It might well be that in practice there isn't any enforcement, except for the latter part of the definition, i.e. "others may not use it". Alv (talk) 08:08, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
My point is that when it is not a lane (da:bane) at all, then the sign provides no obligation to use it in favor of a completely different road (da:vej) or path (da:sti). The photos on the page show examples that are not lanes, hence my comment. Jbohmdk 12:56, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
The information in the Scandinavian column is wrong for Norway too, and the information about "obligation to use" is as wrong and as misleading as it could possibly be. – Tractor, 18 August 2015.