/ amazing roundabout for cyclists!

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tlm - on 09 Mar 2013
I've just had a look at this dutch style roundabout - I must admit that I do have a few heart in my mouth moments most mornings when trying to cycle around roundabouts without being mown down - do these look good or not?

http://s3.amazonaws.com/lcc_production_bucket/files/4963/in_content.jpg?1349458969
Enty - on 09 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

Problem with those is that they rely on the motorist to be aware enough to stop at the first line and not the second line.

E
Toby S - on 09 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

Not sure, who has right of way on it? Do the cyclists need to wait at each junction exit or do they have right of way till they come off the roundabout.
Snoerf - on 09 Mar 2013
In reply to Toby S:

The cyclists have right of way throughout the roundabout. I've lived in Holland for three years and have to say that those things are brilliant.
ebygomm - on 09 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

UK roundabouts are designed to keep traffic flowing without cars having to come to a stop. Crossings right by the exit like that where you have to give way would quickly result in gridlock I suspect.

tlm - on 09 Mar 2013
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to tlm)
>
> Problem with those is that they rely on the motorist to be aware enough to stop at the first line and not the second line.
>
> E

Yeah - I thought about that today, and added it to the difficulty that many motorists have in stopping before the cycle box at lights...

I think it might end up being like that French rule about giving way to the left - the cyclists might have right of way, but they would end up having to be very careful in practice!

adam11 - on 09 Mar 2013
That looks dangerous to me, with all the vehicles going the wrong way around it.
Radioactiveman - on 09 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

T boned by a car , awesome
dissonance - on 09 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

not convinced by them. Any driver who is a menace on a normal roundabout would remain so on one of these.
victim of mathematics - on 09 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

They work brilliantly in Holland, but then again the Dutch are used to bikes having right of way in most situations. If you put one in this country it'd be carnage.
Bob_the_Builder - on 09 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

The attitude needs to change drastically before anything will work. And once the attitude of drivers changes bike specific road design is less important. The Netherlands have an amazing bike conscious population. I wish we knew how to get the British to think similarly.
DancingOnRock - on 09 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm: The difference in Holland is space. They have fast dual carriageways connecting small towns rather than the hotchpotch of A/B roads we have. Drivers can travel the long distances quickly so the shorter ones aren't such an issue.

Look at the space that roundabout occupies for what would normally be in the UK a mini roundabout. There are no other hazards or line of sight problems.

It's not a cyclist/motorist problem, it's the whole road system that leads us in the UK to have problems.
digby - on 10 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

Here in Edinburgh they are quite happy to end the cycle lane on a major road, narrow it to one lane with a pedestrian island, and site it at a crumbling and subsided road drain just to make absolutely sure that you are in the path of whatever traffic is behind you; twice on one stretch.
Same sort of advanced traffic calming by bicycle is repeated all over so the chance of roundabouts like that is about zero.
blurty - on 10 Mar 2013
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> (In reply to tlm) The difference in Holland is space. They have fast dual carriageways connecting small towns rather than the hotchpotch of A/B roads we have. Drivers can travel the long distances quickly so the shorter ones aren't such an issue.

You're right to an extent, but driving in Holland is a disaster in my experience, huge jams, 1hr to go 40k etc.

Dutch motorists give way to cyclists. I was sitting outside a hotel last summer, A girl cycled past with a phone to he ear, with another girl sitting across the pannier rack. She sailed across a road junction completely unaware of the cars having to stop to allow her through. No one beeped their horn at her (I was waiting for her to get mown down by some ned in Corsa).

On another tack, Poynton looks interesting:

http://menmedia.co.uk/macclesfieldexpress/news/s/1599088_traders-share-in-success-of-poynton-shared-...

A 'Shared space' scheme that, counter-intuitively seems to be working.
999thAndy on 10 Mar 2013
In reply to blurty:
Ish. I cycle through there fairly regularly and cars still scrape past me with about a 2" gap. OK it slows everybody down but the surface is not very grippy (feels like polished granite, ok for a worktop, less ideal as road) it's a bit alarming in the wet.
Moondancer - on 10 Mar 2013
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:
> (In reply to tlm)
>
> The attitude needs to change drastically before anything will work. And once the attitude of drivers changes bike specific road design is less important. The Netherlands have an amazing bike conscious population. I wish we knew how to get the British to think similarly.

Wouldn't a better road design help to change people's attitudes? In my opinion the Dutch road design gives off the impression that cyclists are to be taken serious as road users and that they have a right to their own space on the road, whereas the poor road design in Britain only reinforces the idea (that some drivers have) that cyclists shouldn't really be on the road.

I also think that the Dutch design is actually helpful for motorists because it makes cyclists' behaviour a lot more predictable than in the UK. As seen on the picture in the OP, as a driver you know exactly where to look for cyclists. Compare that to the UK where some cyclists might ride in the inner lane if they want to take the 3rd exit on a roundabout, whereas others might find it safer to stick to the outer lane. Add to that that some cyclists will weave in and out of traffic, whereas others prefer to just sit back in the position where they are when traffic is busy.
Dom Whillans on 10 Mar 2013
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to tlm)
>
> Problem with those is that they rely on the motorist to be aware enough to stop at the first line and not the second line.
>
> E

It's hardly a problem in a country where the cyclist has priority pretty much everywhere and everyone understands that to be the case....
Dom Whillans on 10 Mar 2013
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> (In reply to tlm) The difference in Holland is space. They have fast dual carriageways connecting small towns rather than the hotchpotch of A/B roads we have. Drivers can travel the long distances quickly so the shorter ones aren't such an issue.
>
> Look at the space that roundabout occupies for what would normally be in the UK a mini roundabout. There are no other hazards or line of sight problems.
>
> It's not a cyclist/motorist problem, it's the whole road system that leads us in the UK to have problems.

Given that the Netherlands has nearly double the population density of the UK you'd kind of expect us to have more space than the Dutch... of course, bicycles take up a tiny fraction of the road space that one person sitting in a car on their own takes up, but that's a much wider discussion!
tim000 - on 10 Mar 2013
In reply to blurty: that junction in pointon is a nightmare. massive queues whenever i have used it because no one know who has the right of way.
blurty - on 10 Mar 2013
In reply to tim000:
> (In reply to blurty) that junction in pointon is a nightmare. massive queues whenever i have used it because no one know who has the right of way.

I've not driven through there my self. I took a look at the town's website; the forum section seems to indicate that the locals approve of the scheme.

It begs the question - who 'owns' the roads in a town. Is it right for a town to be disadvantaged because it sits on a trunk road? Should through (motorised) traffic have priority.

(I have to declare an interest, I am an avid motorist, who doesn't like being held up; a cyclist, who doesn't like being cut-up; and a resident of a market town, that would really benefit from a Poynton type scheme).

It's very confusing
Neil Williams - on 10 Mar 2013
In reply to blurty:

Shared spaces do work, but they are a nightmare to the blind and partially sighted.

Neil
tlm - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to digby:

> Same sort of advanced traffic calming by bicycle is repeated all over so the chance of roundabouts like that is about zero.

I noticed it because Southampton are planning to have some.

Neil Williams - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

I think they might work if, and only if, the bike crossings are marked as zebra crossings. (Is there any legal scope for shared use zebra crossings or only signallised crossings?)

Neil
Neil Henson - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm: They had one of these in Weymouth quite a few year's back. Fortunately for car driver's no cyclists were using it and the idea was quickly scrapped and the roundabout returned to its more conventional layout.
Howard J - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to blurty:
> (In reply to tim000)
> [...]
>
> I've not driven through there my self. I took a look at the town's website; the forum section seems to indicate that the locals approve of the scheme.
>
There are two quite different elements to the Poynton scheme. The sharing of the shopping high street probably works quite well, allowing vehicles to gain access whilst allowing shoppers to move freely. Also, the locals have probably had the concept explained to them through local publicity, and understand how to use it.

The problem is where they have also incorporated the former crossroads on the A523. This is a busy road carrying traffic between Macclesfield and Stockport, and on to Manchester. Most of the traffic isn't local, certainly at peak times, and doesn't understand how to use the junction. The lights-controlled crossroads (which admittedly was a significant cause of delays) has been replaced by twin roundabouts with virtually no roadmarkings. It's probably quicker to get through than waiting for the lights, but is invariably terrifying because no one knows what to do. You get some drivers dithering interminably and others who seem to shut their eyes and go for it.

I've yet to see a pedestrian or cyclist attempting to share this particular space.

link - on 11 Mar 2013
In reply to Howard J:

I ride and drive between Hazel Grove and Macclesfield and have done for some years. The new roundabout system in Poynton definitely reduces time spent waiting to get through the junction than the old traffic lights. The traffic just moves through slowly.

I also find it safe on the bike because traffic is moving slowly. I have never had a problem but imagine that in the worse case of being hit by a vehicle it would not be a high speed incident. I can't see a situation where I would be knocked off as I would see the driver coming and be able to stop.

Much safer than the roundabout I later have to make a right turn on to go through Tytherington
Howard J - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to link: I agree the traffic flow has speeded up. I also recognise that the point of shared space is to remove assumptions (especially drivers') about rights of way, so that everyone proceeds more carefully and negotiate rights of way between themselves.

However the concept also relies on the people using it understanding how it should work It works best in community situations where everyone knows the rules. This possibly applies to the Park Lane section, but it doesn't apply to the main road junction where a large number of drivers are encountering it perhaps for the first time, with no warning of what is expected of them.

I only go through there every couple of weeks or so, but I've witnessed several scary moments where drivers have just steamed across because they clearly don't understand what they're meant to do or where they should go. You can't really blame them for that because it's not clearly signposted. I wouldn't care to be on a bike when one of those was coming through. I've also yet to see a pedestrian do anything other than concede right of way to vehicles, just like any other road space.

It's the unpredictability which I find unnerving. As a driver, it took me several visits to begin to understand what route I should be taking, and I've still not entirely clear how I'm expected to behave. I can't rely on other drivers behaving cautiously. Cyclists and pedestrians mostly seem to keep out of the cars' way, rather than sharing the space as equals.

I'm just not convinced that it's a suitable bit of road to turn into shared space. Certainly not without better education - I live in Macclesfield, just down the road, but I've seen no information about the new design or how to tackle it. There is no advance signage to give approaching drivers a bit of warning.

deepsoup - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Howard J:
> You can't really blame them for that because it's not clearly signposted.

Yes you can. If you're in any doubt about what you're supposed to be doing, putting your foot down and hoping for the best is not an appropriate response.
Bob kate bob on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

> I think it might end up being like that French rule about giving way to the left

I hope you havn't had a crash yet in France :-S

the french rule unless sign posted otherwise is Priorite a droite which means to give priority to all traffic coming from the RIGHT. This used to include when you are on a roundabout. Most roundabouts have changed and now they are the same as the UK, but there are still some of the old style around including the roundabout in Font in front of the Chateau.

balmybaldwin - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Howard J:

But I think this is the whole point, because nobody knows what to do do, everybody is more cautious (in theory). I remember studying years ago a similar (but less extreme) example in the local town centre, and it has worked quite well, traffic goes slowly because it's unsure of it's right of way, pedestrians are equally cautious, as are cyclists. Buses on the other hand just bully their way through
Howard J - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to balmybaldwin:
> (In reply to Howard J)
>
> But I think this is the whole point, because nobody knows what to do do, everybody is more cautious (in theory).

That's the theory. A shared-space road is supposed to do away with road markings altogether, so that no one can make assumptions about rights of way. The Poynton junction has two mini-roundabouts, but they are so faintly marked as to be virtually invisible, especially in the dark or when the road is wet. This suggests that there are meant to be rights of way, following the usual rules of roundabouts, but many of the road users don't realise this because the markings (including the existence of the roundabouts) are invisible. So you get people who know the roundabouts are there believing they have right of way and turning right across people who don't realise they are on a roundabout.

It's neither chalk nor cheese. Either mark it out clearly as a pair of roundabouts so that everyone understands it, or remove the roundabouts altogether and have an open unmarked space which people must find their way across the best way they can.


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