A Conversation for Is It Safe to Cycle?

Roundabout and safety

Post 1


As a cyclist I try to use the cycle paths where possible, but I do draw the line at roundabouts- I always rejoin the main carriageway and go round the roundabout properly. I do this because it seems a lot safer to me than trying to cross the road with my bicycle.

Does anyone else have an opinion?

smiley - fairy

Roundabout and safety

Post 2


It may depend on how much traffic there is smiley - erm. My own view is that, if you are trying to turn right (I'm talking UK here) it's probably safer to join the right hand lane, if you can and go round on the inside of the roundabout, because that's what car drivers expect you to do.

If there's so much traffic that it's impracticable to move out into the right hand lane, it may be safer to get off and find a safe place to cross each road in turn.

Roundabout and safety

Post 3


There is an idiotic practice of painting cycle lanes around the outside of roundabouts. While I'm sure this was well-intentioned, I'm pretty certain that 'the powers that be', never bothered to ask cyclists' groups for their views, or consider the consequences of corralling cyclists to the outside of roundabouts.

Cycling around the outside of a roundabout confuses motorists; it places cyclists where motorists may incorrectly assume the cyclist is intending to leave the roundabout; and it places the cyclist at risk from traffic repeatedly crossing their path. It's dangerous! Don't do it! Clearly, if there is a cycle path OFF the roundabout that is suitable, then use that.

Any cyclist will know that motorists as a breed seem to be infected with the mind virus otherwise known as 'I must get past the cyclist at all costs'. When this leads to the motorist crossing the cyclist's path, this can involve considerable danger for the cyclist.

In consequence, I believe the safest path through a roundabout is that which is used by the other traffic. For details, see the Highway Code, but take some of the stuff about cycling with a pinch of salt. Most of it is really good, but remember the HC was written by people who drive and clearly do not understand the needs of cyclists!

Act like a motor vehicle

CYCLE ASSERTIVELY - Maintain heightened awareness;
Observe and clearly signal your intention clearly;
Adopt the correct lane for entry;
Attempt to enter roundabout without stopping by adjusting your speed to time your arrival with a suitable gap; [but be prepared to stop if necessary];
'Take' the appropriate lane on the roundabout [primary position = centre of lane];
Observe and clearly signal your intention to exit;
Maintain appropriate lane position on exit.

Remember cycle lanes are not compulsory!

Note many cycle lanes are too narrow for use [see below]. In which case, use the primary [centre of lane] or secondary position [~ 1 metre from kerb] as appropriate.
Rule 63

For the bizarre world of cycle lanes [Google 'cycle facility of the month'].

Roundabout and safety

Post 4


Roundabout and safety

Post 5


Act like a motor vehicle & cycle assertivley

Advice I do follow.
It certainly cuts down on the number of motorist cutting sharply in front of a cyclist as the car turns left. It also prevents the cyclist getting stuck behind parked cars, or endangering everyone by weaving in and out around parked cars.
Does anyone know of official links suggesting cyclists are entitled to use use the primary lane position.

Flashing Lights
I had always thought these were tolerated, but probably illegal I note from the highway code rule they are allowed.I do know there is controversy over helmets (and for that matter maybe other safety gear) but I find the small led flashing lights that can attach to a helmet a good idea, because rather like the high level brake lights on a car they can be seen when other lights (and most of the cyclist) are obscured by other traffic.

Cycle Lanes
There should be a good practice guide to stop the authorities making cycle lanes where parking is allowed, what is the point of a cycle lane that is then dotted with parked cars. In my mind another idiotic practice like cycle lanes on the outside within a roundabout.
Another annoyance (especially within built up areas with many junctions) is cycle lanes that follow the main road but stop at every side junction

Roundabout and safety

Post 6


It seems to me that cycle lanes are painted on the road, but only when it is convenient to do so. As soon as they aren't sure they stop (often abruptly) and you are left to figure it out yourself. Not that we haven't been doing tht for years, of course, but it seems a silly way to go about things.

smiley - fairy

Roundabout and safety

Post 7


Personally I use the righthand lane when turning right, however the highway code says the following-

You may feel safer walking your cycle round on the pavement or verge.

If you decide to ride round keeping to the left-hand lane you should
be aware that drivers may not easily see you.

take extra care when cycling across exits.

You may need to signal right to show you are not leaving the roundabout.

watch out for vehicles crossing your path to leave or join the roundabout."

Which to me is a dangerous game of cycling "frogger"!

Note the "If you decide to ride round keeping to the left-hand lane" which basically means you might choose not to.

So there it is- there is no specific advice, even in the highway code.
smiley - sadface

Roundabout and safety

Post 8


Yeah, it's weird, isn't it. smiley - sadface I wrote A61403690 to try and put down what I reckon is safe. Roundabouts have always been a sticky point in the Code.

smiley - fairy

Roundabout and safety

Post 9


I wholeheartedly agree with all the above comments on the dangers of roundabouts for cyclists. As a cycling mother I wonder just how one is meant to teach your children to circumnavigate these lethal structures safely these days? The worst example I've found is in Chichester, around the fire station. I also choose not to use the cycle lanes round this one as I believe they are more dangerous than staying in the traffic... I'm just glad that the roads were quieter when my son was young and I was teaching him cycling skills! Any other parents concerned about how children are meant to survive modern roads and become accomplished cyclists?!

Roundabout and safety

Post 10


Thankfully where I live the traffic is reasonably quiet and forgiving. If I still lived in Birmingham, or moved to London.... smiley - yikes

smiley - fairy

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