Rare `cycleway` value `shoulder`: obsolete or useful?

About 98% of all cycleways (, …:left, etc.) have currently values that are valid and documented.

I am currently sifting through the 2% rest in an effort to see whether there are any that make sense and should maybe be documented as in-use. After all, 2% are still over 30000 values.

Most of these are indeed garbage, i.e. ambiguous values such as yes,both,left,right,on_street,segregated,shared,sidewalk,share_sidewalk, … obsolete values that are probably synonymous to valid values or tag combinations such as none,sidepath,use_sidepath,buffered_lane,soft_lane and troll tags such as proposed or construction.

However, the most-used undocumented value (after the obsolete and ambiguous shared) is…


(… to which the undocumented value unmarked_lane is maybe synonymous?).
Together, they have about 12000 usages (0.45%).

It is pretty clear what the value is used for: That cyclists use the shoulder / breakdown lane in absence of an explicitly marked lane. (In many legislations, cycle lanes are actually described as shoulders specifically reserved for cyclists.)

Now, there is duplication with the (ill-defined) shoulder tag the same way as with the sidewalk value. But unlike the sidewalk value1, it is not ambiguous, because if there were a sign that cyclists must use the shoulder, then it would simply be a lane. So, directly has some utility.

So, I don’t know. In particular, I wonder if that value should be supported in StreetComplete or marked as an invalid value. What do you think?

Contra shoulder value

  • Duplication
  • Verifiability issue about whether it is usable and allowed for cyclists to use. Just add cycleway=lane to every paved shoulder=yes if there is no other cycle infrastructure??

Pro shoulder value

  • The shoulder key is badly defined, or at least, in a way that it is not useful for cycling tagging:
    1. a shoulder=yes could actually have a gravel surface (according to wiki), rendering it unusable for cyclists
    2. as defined in the wiki, if the shoulder is not broad enough for a car it’s shoulder=no. However, a narrow shoulder is already useful for cyclists
  • Duplication: We already have another value that refers to another tag, share_busway. Also, e.g. parking:lane=shoulder which also refers to the shoulder tag. So duplication is not necessarily a no-go per se.

1 because it is not clear whether that sidewalk is a non-segregated cycle- and footway (cycleway=track + cycleway:segregated=no) or whether it is a sidewalk where cyclists are merely allowed (cycleway=no + sidewalk=both + sidewalk:bicycle=yes)

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Ce sujet de discussion accompagne la publication sur https://community.openstreetmap.org/t/rare-cycleway-value-shoulder-obsolete-or-useful/5849