The classification of cycle paths in OSM

There are many tags and relations that define whether or not a “way” is a bicycl path or not. Here we will use the example of Chapeltown, taken from a tutorial on loading OSM data. The advantage of using a small subset of the data is that it can be reproduced by anyone using data that can easily be downloaded on one's home computer. So we start by loading the data:

library(osmar)
src <- osmsource_api()
bb <- center_bbox(-1.53492, 53.81934, 1000, 1200)  # set location of download
# ctown <- get_osm(bb, source = src) # uncomment if no data saved
load("data/ctown.RData")
plot(ctown)
points(-1.53492, 53.81934, col = "red", lwd = 5)

plot of chunk Preliminary plot of Chapletown with osmar

The basic plot function of osmar objects is very sparse. For insight into the cycle paths that are present in this area, we can look at the OpenCycleMap's visualisation:

Cycle paths in the study area from OpenCycleMap

This map, which can be viewed from here, illustrates bicycle paths with a blue line that is continuous if it's part of the local cycle network and dashed if it's tagged as a cyclepath. Further details are described in the key.

Another option to visualise relevant cycle infrastructure on the internet is via CycleStreets.net. Their editor shows relevant cycle path data: