Talk:Proposed features/Tag:path=mtb

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Not a troll tag

« 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. »
This sounds like path=mtb is a troll tag (a subtag denying the main tag definition). I think, the problem is in the path tag definition : saying that a path is for multiuse or for unspecified usage is like saying a highway=unclassified is for multiuse or for unspecified usage. The default is mutiluse but sub tags is there to specify the usage, as access tags, as would do path=mtb.--Florimondable (talk) 13:46, 19 April 2020 (UTC)

It sounds like path=mtb is a troll tag because in my option it is. While some people certainly use highway=path to mean "a path in the woods" and consider mountain bike tracks a type of highway=path, the way highway=path is defined on the wiki as "a generic path, either multi-use or unspecified usage, open to all non-motorized vehicles and not intended for motorized vehicles unless tagged so separately." implies that a mountain bike track is not this, since mountain bike paths are not generic paths and not unspecified usage. Hence a mountain bike track is not a type of highway=path it's a complete different thing, similar to a highway=track or highway=footway neither of which are a type of highway=path. In hindsight a highway=mtbway would have been perfect, but that ship has sailed, so this is the best compromise. highway=unclassified is a road designed for motor vehicles. I guess the way to make it not a trolltag is to say generic (unspecified use) paths need path=generic, and then a lone highway=path without a path tag could be either a generic path or mountain bike track. --Aharvey (talk) 14:24, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
Path tag definition is bad, a path is a path, ought to be enough.
A path can be a path=mtb and also suitable for pedestrian or horseman, specifying a function of a road doesn't remove the others.
highway=unclassified doesn't mean it is designed for motor vehicles only, an unclassified road can be designed for cycling (cycleways ?), pedestrian (pavement ?), horses, etc.
--Florimondable (talk) 19:44, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
Sorry I don't understand what you mean by "path tag definition is bad"? I think by definition highway=unclassified (just like =primary,secondary,tertiary,residential, service) is for a road which is something designed primarily for motor_vehicles, something that is designed primarily for cycling would be a highway=cycleway, for primarily for pedestrians would be highway=footway (optionally footway=sidewalk), primarily for horses would be highway=bridleway, so therefore primarily for mountain bikes would be (as I'm proposing) highway=path + path=mtb simply because highway=mtbway is not backwards compatible. --Aharvey (talk) 23:56, 19 April 2020 (UTC)

I also feel that this is a bad combination. It is unfortunate that path already has two meanings, the documented one and the literal one. I think it is a very bad idea to add a third meaning which contradicts the documented meaning in a new way. Makes a bad thing worse. --Nop (talk) 18:58, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

I feel that highway=mtb would be better, but there may be long time before it will be supported. Maybe leisure=mtb_track? Or leisure=track + sport=mtb? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 01:06, 30 April 2020 (UTC)

This thread contains some bad assumptions. Mountain bike paths are in fact generic paths, just ones that have been *designed* with mountain bikes in mind. This often means that the paths are sub-optimal for other uses, but that does not mean (in the *vast* majority of cases) that the trail is single use. It just might route the walker up and down hills that the rider has momentum to get over easily Quite the contrary, walkers are a common site on MTB trails. I do not see an issue with the tag as proposed, and think there is more of a problem with the number of MTB trails tagged as cycleways, than there would be with tagging mtb trails as, um, trails. It is a good proposal. --Keithonearth (talk) 20:17, 30 April 2020 (UTC)
"but that does not mean (in the *vast* majority of cases) that the trail is single use" - I feel that some photos would help. I was thinking about path with ramps, massive drops and similar features making almost impossible to use it for walking Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 00:31, 1 May 2020 (UTC)
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moscow,_military_earthworks_in_Losiny_Ostrov_forest_(20626923243).jpg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bikepark_Winterberg_-_panoramio.jpg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Winterberg_Berg_Kappe_Sauerland_Ost_093_pk.jpg - I was thinking about such constructions. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 00:35, 1 May 2020 (UTC)
@Mateusz I agree that highway=mtb or highway=mtbway would be perfect, but as I've mentioned, OSM doesn't have the level of maturity to make those kinds of tag migrations, so it's not possible to use it. --Aharvey (talk) 13:43, 1 May 2020 (UTC)
How do you think highway=cycleway or other came to existence ? Bending an existing tag not to break software support (thus putting the software before the database) will never be accepted. The semantic of the tags must be respected, or in few years we'll have only tags that contradict their literal meaning. You should preferably be thinking about a better migration path... Regards H@mlet (talk) 14:34, 3 May 2020 (UTC)
@Keithonearth So to be clear you've vote yes for this path=mtb tag? --Aharvey (talk) 13:43, 1 May 2020 (UTC)
@Aharvey, yes I certainly support this tag. I think it's the best possible approach, as it acutely reflects the reality on the ground.--Keithonearth (talk) 16:07, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

Default foot access

« foot=* should be set to indicate if walkers may also use the mountain bike track. »
By default this tag should not change path default access (foot=yes), since this is not a troll tag (see point above). We should just say that mapper can set foot=no|designated|discouraged.--Florimondable (talk) 13:50, 19 April 2020 (UTC)

I haven't proposed any implied foot=* value when path=mtb, so as a data consumer I would still default to foot=yes on path=mtb where foot= is not set. That said, I always err on the side of explicitly setting the value rather than relying on defaults, in my view a path=mtb without a foot= is ambiguous regardless of the default, so it should always be added as a clear assertion. --Aharvey (talk) 14:24, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
so, what about mtb=yes in combination with highway=path? It wouldn't break anything, right? --Nospam2005 (talk) 17:08, 29 April 2020 (UTC)
Correct it wouldn't hurt to add that where mountain bikes are allowed, but unless it's legally restricted to "mountain bikes" excluding other types of bicycles, I'd just tag with the bicycle=* access tag as most paths wouldn't legally make a distinction between types of bicycles. --Aharvey (talk) 13:47, 30 April 2020 (UTC)
I feel that having a default `foot=yes` value corresponds with the reality of most MTB trails. At least the trails I'm familiar with here in Western Canada, the vast majority allow use by walkers. I can't think of any examples where walkers are prohibited, but I thought this might be because I don't ride on double black diamond trails, or other technical trails. I did a search for `foot=no` on overpass turbo. Just a couple of MTB trails have been tagged as such out of hundreds. As such I think that having a default value of `foot=yes` makes sense. --Keithonearth (talk) 19:47, 30 April 2020 (UTC)

What about mtb-designated highway=track

Many mtb trails (mainly used and sometimes officially designated for mountain bikes) are former mountain roads, still wide enough for four-wheeled vehicles -- and these would normally be tagged highway=track. From the sound of it, this proposal would make people choose between the tagging the physical properies of the track (highway=track) or the designated mtb use (highway=path + path=mtb).

If more than one type of highway can be designated for mtb use, then indicating mtb designation as a subtag of only a particular highway type (path) won't work. Consider a tag that can coexist with multiple highway types, like snowmobile=yes/designated or piste:type=*. Offhand mtb=yes/designated, already quite common, seems like a good fit. Jmapb (talk) 15:34, 19 April 2020 (UTC)

I agree. I would like to propose :
trail=mtb
or mtbtrail=yes
mtbtrail could also become a tag in order to specify every feature of trail like mtbtrai=jump, mtbtrail=skiny, etc
--Florimondable (talk) 19:53, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
@Jmapb I'd still tag that as track as it was originally built for four-wheeled vehicles and still able to be used by four-wheeled vehicles and may still be used by four-wheeled vehicles for track maintenance or emergencies, or normal use. I'd err on the side of physical properties, and I definitely tried to make this proposal of path=mtb to be based on the physical properties of the track. My point is that often a generic path is quite physically different to a constructed hiking trail (highway=footway) and quite physically different to a constructed singletrail mountain bike track. So I'm not proposing path=mtb to mean designated mtb use that's what mtb=designated is for. --Aharvey (talk) 23:49, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
@Florimondable just yesterday I tagged mtb=gap_jump, so would love to see a proposal on tagging specific features like table jumps, gap jumps, skinny (I've never heard this, but I don't know MTB lingo so guess it's where they have a narrow log or plank of wood to follow), they could happen independently of this proposal which is for the whole track. --Aharvey (talk) 23:49, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
mtb=only? --Nospam2005 (talk) 17:09, 29 April 2020 (UTC)
mtb=yes/designated sounds the simplest, and consistent with established conventions. Instead of "only", I would use mtb=designated and foot/bicycle/...=no, to be explicit. --H@mlet (talk) 13:32, 30 April 2020 (UTC)
"Many mtb trails...are former mountain roads". Yes, many designated mtb routes are former fire roads, logging roads, access roads, or similar. These MTB trails should not be tagged with the `path=mtb` because they fail to meet the proposal's requirement that the trail be *built* with MTBing in mind. This may sound subjective to non-MTBers, but it is not. Many MTB trails are built by MTBers, voluntarily. Other's have been built for MTBers by resort owners. Trails have elevation profiles that suite MTBing, with the expectation that riders will carry their momentum from a downhill section to an uphill section, in the way walkers can't. Trails include features like jumps and berms. Designated MTB routes that were originally designed for 4x4s can still be tagged with `mtb=designated`, or similar, but not the proposed tag. This is good, because it is valuable to differentiate between the two. Failing to do so hides important information. --Keithonearth (talk) 20:41, 30 April 2020 (UTC)

sport=mtb?

After reading the comments about defining path features (gaps, berms, rollovers, rock gardens, water bars, etc) which I've always wanted to do (especially when trails cross), I wondered if we've got detailed tagging for BMX or skate parks. I couldn't find any, but their tagging uses sport=* on the physical feature. What are people's thoughts on sport=mtb instead of the proposed path=mtb, i.e. defining what activity people do on the path rather than redefining the path. Personally I (and friends) find most trail features typically thought of as solely for MTB are also really fun as a trail runner (and MTB rider). Some local named and sanctioned MTB trails here are also very natural, with limited or no built features, including natural rock gardens and quick changes in elevation from watercourses, so the physical path isn't any different from a more serious hiking trail. I'd prefer to map built physical MTB trail features along the trail separately (mostly nodes, but also short ways a bit like a bridge), and always tag the trail sport=mtb for its typical usage/purpose even if physically it wasn't "built", sport=mtb could also apply to specific highway=track where applicable (not all forest roads, just those where you'd "ride" a MTB as opposed to just traverse it to get to another trail). --Jonorossi (talk) 01:06, 21 April 2020 (UTC)

I think it's worth exploring sport=mtb, however I still think we need a way to distinguish a generic mixed use path which MTB's can use vs a path built specifically for MTB. https://www.flickr.com/photos/136319147@N08/49793131536/in/datetaken-public/ is an example of a non-signposted forest path near me. The track goes straight off the rock, the track is designed to make use of this and as such is a primary mtb path. Yes you can walk here but from the track design it wasn't built with walking in mind. I can't rely on any of the access tags here since there is no signposts saying if any mode is either forbidden, allowed or designated. https://www.flickr.com/photos/136319147@N08/49793135911/in/datetaken-public/is another example, the track goes down the rock, again designed/intended for mtb not walking. We need to distinguish this from a generic path that is neither built for walking or mtb specifically but for a non-specified mode of transport which is what highway=path is documented as. --Aharvey (talk) 03:27, 22 April 2020 (UTC)
I'm one of those mountain bikers (enduro, downhill, full-face helmet etc). What I see described fits the `sport=mtb` for me, similar to [Tag:sport%3Dbobsleigh] *though they simply need walls and ice for their sport) and the formerly proposed [Dirt_bike]. Basically a track where mountain bikers can feel safe (apart from other bikers) and where it's too dangerous for hikers. In my opinion that fits most designated/signposted downhill tracks from green/blue/black, BMX tracks, bike parks and self-build technical tracks. My experience uphill tracks are usually shared with hikers since, even with e-mountain-bikes, the bikes are slower. `sport=mtb` only where bikers have right-of-way; signage like 'share the path' voids that. https://worldofmtb.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Black-Mountain-Bikepark-1-1280x853.jpg For any other track the existing tagging is IMHO sufficient, outdoor apps make good use of mtb:scale and such an indication. --Mtmail (talk) 17:29, 26 April 2020 (UTC)
When I think of the sport tag, I think of setting it on a leisure=pitch to say which kind of sport is played there, so I guess you could say sport=mtb on a highway=* or leisure=track to say mtb is "played" there, but still misses the critical feature of this proposal which is to distinguish primary mtb/purpose built mtb vs other types of paths or tracks where people practice mountain biking. I still feel we need a physical tag to mark the actual track/path as build for mountain biking. --Aharvey (talk) 13:48, 1 May 2020 (UTC)

What are we describing?

We keep going in circles here, as we did in the mailing list discussion.

We need to decide what we are talking about: a mixed-use path, that is "attractive" for MTB riders or a dedicated "path" that is reserved for MTB riders.

In this discussion page we still have this ambiguity: The proposal starts with this definition: "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." But then we talk again of mixed-use paths: "A path can be a path=mtb and also suitable for pedestrian or horseman, specifying a function of a road doesn't remove the others"


If we talk about a generic path (with default access values) that is particularly siutable for MTBs, we need to add the information that would make this highway attractive to an MTB rider or a specialized MTB router. These tags include: mtb:scale, incline, surface, smoothness. For this case we do not need a new value of path.


If we talk about a "path" that is for the exclusive ue of MTBs (i.e. it excludedes hikers, horses, ecc.) then we should either not use highway=path, and rather create a specific highway value, e.g. mtbtrack or, in alternative use leisure=track with sport=mtb.

or, in alternative

simply set the correct property tags: mtb:scale, incline, surface, smoothness plus foot=no, (horse=no if you are in a country where the default access for path includes horses). Again we do not need a new value for the key path


If the highway that is reserved for MTBs is a track (wide enough for cars or tractors) than you can use the same approcah with highway=track

--voschix (talk) 21:17, 21 April 2020 (UTC)

> "We need to decide what we are talking about"
something that is created or built as a mountain bike track, or officially designated or mostly use as a mountain bike track. My proposal here doesn't change that a generic mixed used that is "attractive" for MTB should continue to be tagged as highway=path. This proposal is for paths that are mostly dedicated for mountain bike riders and built as mountain bike tracks.
The same way a highway=footway can still allow bicycles with bicycle=yes, it just means that the primary function is for walkers, similarly highway=cycleway can still allow walkers with foot=yes, it again just means the primary function is for bicycles. So we need a highway=mtbway which means to say the primary function is for mountain bike riders, but can still allow walkers foot=yes without being a generic mixed use path.
> "If we talk about a generic path (with default access values) that is particularly siutable for MTBs, we need to add the information that would make this highway attractive to an MTB rider or a specialized MTB router. These tags include: mtb:scale, incline, surface, smoothness. For this case we do not need a new value of path."
Agreed, I've tried to write the proposal in a way that makes it clear that generic paths should still be highway=path.
> "If we talk about a "path" that is for the exclusive ue of MTBs (i.e. it excludedes hikers, horses, ecc.) then we should either not use highway=path, and rather create a specific highway value, e.g. mtbtrack or, in alternative use leisure=track with sport=mtb."
In hindsight highway=mtbway would be ideal, but it's too late to redefine those tags in OSM, there is no process to make breaking changes. If we have highway=mtbway then data consumers won't use it until there is wide occurrence in OSM and mappers won't map it until there is wide support in data consumers. So unfortunately we need something which is backwards compatible, in this way to be highway=path + path=mtb is exactly highway=mtbway but in a way won't break everything during a migration.
> "If we talk about a "path" that is for the exclusive ue of MTBs (i.e. it excludedes hikers, horses, ecc.) then we should either not use highway=path, and rather create a specific highway value, e.g. mtbtrack or, in alternative use leisure=track with sport=mtb."
The issue is that only sometimes hikers are excluded, sometimes they are allowed, but still it's not a generic mixed use path, it's a primary mountain bike path. I guess the one advantage of leisure=track is that it can be combined with highway=path so that it doesn't break for data consumers. in that way highway=path + leisure=track + sport=mtb would be exactly the same as highway=path + path=mtb.
> "simply set the correct property tags: mtb:scale, incline, surface, smoothness plus foot=no, (horse=no if you are in a country where the default access for path includes horses). Again we do not need a new value for the key path"
Yes I've set all of these, but then you have no way to say this is primarily a mountain bike track or generic mixed use path. For hikers you might want to avoid primary mountain bike tracks and mountain bikers might prefer to find primary mountain bike tracks over generic paths. None of those tags listed here help determine this. --Aharvey (talk) 03:12, 22 April 2020 (UTC)
What are we describing? This confusion seem central to the hesitation to the adoption of this tag. I think the primary reason for the confusion is that many people here have not ridden on a purpose built MTB trail. Despite the confusion this is an objectively verifiable trail type, if we know the history of the trail. This tag is for a trail built for MTBers, usually by MTBers volunteering their time. These trails are maintained with MTBers in mind. While walkers are seldomly banned, they are not great walking trails, because they are not designed for walkers.
If we don't know the history, we can still make educated decisions if the `path=mtb` tag fits, based on the design choices made by the trail builders and maintainers. A trail designed for MTBing will be have an elevation profile chosen with the expectation that momentum will be carried. Switchbacks have wider turns than on a trail designed with walkers in mind. Features like berms, jumps, table tops, skinnies, and others are included. This may sound unclear to people who don't ride, but it is very clear to those who do. Even to a casual rider like myself. And it is mostly MTBers who map MTB trails.
Here is a video about MTB trail building done by professionals. Hopefully it will make clear why it is useful to have a tag that designates purpose built MTB trails. When watching the video keep in mind that most of these trails are open to walkers, but you can see that they not ideal places to walk. In my part of the world (Western Canada) the trails are usually maintained by volunteers with hand tools, organized by MTB groups like nsmba.
Perhaps it is worth comparing this with the `building=church` tag, used for a structure built as a church, in the architectural style of a church. It need not still be used as a church, just to have that architectural style. In the case of `trail=mtb` the trail must have the design features of an MTB trail. Simply being used by MTBers is not enough. If it was originally designed for horses, or motor-vehicles that's not an mtb trail. Sure, some potential disagreements might arise, especially if we don't know the history of a building, if it should really be tagged `building=church`. But that does not mean it isn't a useful tag. It might be hard to describe a church to someone who has no idea about the architectural style, but it's still a good tag. This is the same. Most of the time it is clear to users that the tag fits, the possibility of some disagreements coming up sometimes is no reason not to use the tag. The `path=mtb` tag is a big improvement over the current situation with many MTB trails tagged as cycleways. --Keithonearth (talk) 21:47, 30 April 2020 (UTC)
@Keithonearth very well said! I hope you don't mind if I copy some of this into the proposal wording? Everything you've said here is very clear and exactly what I was trying to propose path=mtb for. --Aharvey (talk) 13:54, 1 May 2020 (UTC)
Thanks, @Aharvey, I'd be flattered if you did. I think we need to focus on the fact that we're talking about the design and construction goals, and intended use, of we're going to have this proposal go through successfully. It would be a shame if it doesn't pass, because it really does full a need, even if people who don't ride trails seem to be having a hard time understanding that. --Keithonearth (talk) 16:20, 2 May 2020 (UTC)

highway=mtbway

I'm pretty sure this need to be a high-level tag, like highway=cycleway. It can look like a path, or a track. It's mainly for mtb, but some may be accessible for hikers, 4-wheeled vehicles, and so on.

All right, it will break routing and rendering for a little while, but it's not too hard to add a new highway type, based on path for example, and then refine later. Anyway AFAIK limits of the software should not prevail in tagging decisions. --H@mlet (talk) 14:17, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

To do that, OSM needs a way for a tag to be approved for use, but in a "migration" phase where it shouldn't be used, instead during the migration phase, data consumers are given advanced notice to start implementing the new approved tag. Then after some time once there is good support on data consumers side, the tag is approved for use and mappers can start using it. To do it any other way just reinforces OSM's immaturity as a data provider and proves that it's not a suitable option to alternatives. It's unreasonable to expect data consumers to be able to immediately take up new tags, they need advance notice. --Aharvey (talk) 23:27, 26 April 2020 (UTC)
Well I think the Proposal process is the advance notice you wish for. Otherwise we would just start using the new tag right away. More than notice, most data consumers (those I use, open-source, community-run), needs pull requests, with actual code to cater with the new tag. For the renderers, it should not be too hard to add a new highway type, based on an existing one. For routers it's a bit more complicated, but still doable shortly. And the decision here doesn't mean that every mtb trail will be tagged right away. These things take time. Anyway, sorry to repeat myself more or less, but you can't subtag, bending the original tag meaning, just to keep backward compatibility ! That's tagging for the renderer, squared. H@mlet (talk) 13:48, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
"It can look like a path, or a track. It's mainly for mtb, but some may be accessible for hikers, 4-wheeled vehicles, and so on." If it looks like a path, and is used as a path, it doesn't need a new high level tag. I'm my experience these trails are almost always open to hikers too, and when accessible to hikers it is disadvantageous to have it tagged as something other than a trail. If it's accessable by 4 wheeled motor vehicles than it shouldn't be given a new high level tag, either, for the same reason. It also shouldn't be given this proposed tag, as it's not been designed for mountain bikes, only been reclassified as a MTB trail.--Keithonearth (talk) 19:18, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

Support

I support the original proposal. Cycleway is reserved for commuters. Tagging with bicycle=yes directs regular cyclist into rough trails Changing to mtbway would disrupt current routers. mtb:scale is often unknown Valleyofdawn (talk) 10:08, 28 April 2020 (UTC)

Illegal mtb paths

Note that some mtb routes are constructed illegally and riding mtb bicycle there is illegal. How such object should be tagged (highway=path + path=mtb + bicycle=no?) Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 01:04, 30 April 2020 (UTC)

Yes just use the access tags like bicycle=no or access=private etc (or mtb=no if only mtb but that a rare case). --Florimondable (talk) 13:24, 30 April 2020 (UTC)
I agree. Like any route that objectively exists, but has access restrictions, these trails should be tagged with appropriate access restrictions.--Keithonearth (talk) 21:49, 30 April 2020 (UTC)