Deprecate Key:cyclestreet?

Hey there, I did some extensive research last weekend on the actual legislation of “bicycle boulevards” a.k.a “cyclestreets”, “bicycle roads”, “neighbourhood greenways” etc. and documented it here:

Part of the research was how bicycle_road and cyclestreet are used in the wild.

And basically, except for maybe Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg where usage of cyclestreet dominates (because it was initially documented by a Belgian mapper) and Germany, maybe Austria where usage of bicycle_road dominates because it was documented by Germans, usage is pretty topsy-turvy everywhere else.

I.e. both tags are used and the documented clear divide between countries with a more restrictive legislation (bicycle_road: only bikes allowed by default) and a less restrictive legislation, if any (cyclestreet: “car drivers, be careful, okay??”) does not really exist outside of the mentioned countries.

Plus, I found out that Luxembourg initially belonged to the “restrictive” club together with Germany and Austria but changed legislation in 2020 to have similar legislation as in Belgium, yet, this wasn’t reflected in a change of tagging.
This kind of leads me to believe that the whole rationale written foremost in the cyclestreet wiki page about why this tag exists at all is just a post-rationalization rather than a useful distinction. Data consumers will want to look at the concrete access tags anyway for concrete access restrictions.
It also shows that having two tags for basically the same thing does not make so much sense, as the legislation on what restrictions apply exactly can always change.

So, why not deprecate bicycle_road then? You know it is really not so important either way, but there are a few points that speak for that tag:

  • that tag was in-use 2010 and was documented in English as early as 2013. cyclestreet was only documented 5 years later. I.e. bicycle_road existed much longer
  • bicycle_road is a JOSM preset (since I don’t know) while cyclestreet is not

What do you guys think?

Also, if you have anything to contribute to the table in the wiki page, please do! I am sure I did not cover all the countries and states that actually do have bicycle roads yet.

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