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Thread: Roundabout Tips

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    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Roundabout Tips

    I'm moving to a town with five roundabouts on the street that runs through a main commercial corridor.

    I will inevitably have to ride these things. Three of the five are multi-lane jobbers with signs instructing motorists what to do that they don't even follow.

    Apart from the usual, don't hug the curb and take the lane, are there any tips on surviving roundabouts?

    Here's a link to the biggest one in the town.
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    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    unless you are making the first right turn, stay in the inside (left) lane if you're going 180 or 270 degrees through the thing, so you don't get right hooked by people exiting sooner than you

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    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    This is about the best reference I've seen for street cycling, and includes a good section on roundabouts
    http://www.dot.state.fl.us/safety/pe...brochures/pdf/
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Keep your speed & aggression up!

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    Be careful of pedal strike if keeping aggression up and sprinting through!

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    Some previous roundabout (aka rotary) threads. Watch out in the multilane ones.

    Here you go:
    Roundabouts?
    How do you negotiate rotaries?
    Riding group leader commands at roundabouts
    And this just in:Cyclists in roundabouts--different design solutions.
    which notes:
    An important consideration for cyclist safety is the evidence that motor vehicle drivers primarily look for other motor vehicles and therefore sometimes fail to see cyclists (Herslund and Jørgensen, 2003; Räsänen and Summala, 2000, 1998; Summala et al., 1996). While the aim of integrating cyclists with motor vehicles is to make them more visible, the above-mentioned research shows that it may not be a safer solution in roundabouts. ...

    Explaining variation in safety performance of roundabouts.
    which notes: ... Vulnerable road users (i.e. bicyclists, motorcyclists & pedestrians) are more frequently than expected involved in crashes at roundabouts and roundabouts with cycle lanes are clearly performing worse than roundabouts with cycle paths. Confirmation is found for the existence of a safety in numbers-effect for bicyclists, moped riders and - with less certainty - for pedestrians at roundabouts."
    Last edited by Giro; 06-02-10 at 06:49 PM.

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    Que CERA, CERA jefferee's Avatar
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    That biggest one looks about the same diameter as most of the roundabouts I ride through on a regular basis. It's a small enough circle that I can generally match the speed of vehicular traffic.
    Quote Originally Posted by MajorMantra View Post
    Cycling (taken to the typical roadie extreme) causes you to cough up your own soul as every fibre of your worthless being sings in choral agony. Once you embrace the pain everything is dandy.

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    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kdiehl View Post
    Be careful of pedal strike if keeping aggression up and sprinting through!
    Living in the city of Orange CA, with it's famous traffic circle, I learned that real fast.

    In all seriousness, hesitancy and unclear intentions confuse and irritate drivers.

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    Roundabout should slow traffic to about 10-15 mph. Older rotaries are dangerous for pretty much anything including cars at times.

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    Senior Member bismillah's Avatar
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    Down in florida, we call roundabouts *skidpads*.

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    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    For me, roundabouts always result in a change in speed. For the little mostly residential models I end up losing speed to check for other vehicles. For the multi-lane models I end up sort of sprinting to merge easily with the fastest traffic moving to center and flying off to right. Just looking at streetview, your rather nice Golden Road circle looks like something in between. With traffic present, I'd probably be in sprint and merge mode.
    George
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    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeshoup View Post
    ...Apart from the usual, don't hug the curb and take the lane, are there any tips on surviving roundabouts?
    I used to wear left and right mirrors (eyeglass type) and I found that to give me more confidence. I lost one and dropped the practice but I think about resuming it.

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    Realize that you're invisible to all the drivers. Don't be surprised if they come and push you sideways. I'd try anything to not have to use one. Including walking across as a ped.

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    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thehick View Post
    Realize that you're invisible to all the drivers. Don't be surprised if they come and push you sideways. I'd try anything to not have to use one. Including walking across as a ped.
    Is this due to experience?

    Common trend seems to be that you need to be assertive and aggressive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeshoup View Post
    Is this due to experience? Common trend seems to be that you need to be assertive and aggressive.
    I know that when I'm driving around them, I can barely see other cars. So for sure a cyclist might as well be invisible. Cars have lots of blind spots and the driver is under stress to look ahead and decide which cut-off to take and look sideways/behind for other traffic. This may not be the time to push your assertion of road ownership. My goal when cycling is to get "there". Not make a social statement.

    Naturally, if there's only one or two cars around, I can miss them. If the round-a-bout is full of even-slow-moving vehicles, I'd not pick that moment to be aggressive. But, go ahead if you like, mostly you'll be OK anyway. If a car hits you, the driver will say "but I couldn't see you. what were you thinking?". I don't want to hear that when I'm lying on the ground.

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    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    I don't have any experience cycling through large multi-lane roundabouts, but the small ones I find easier than normal intersections. I can negotiate them at higher speed on the bicycle than most motorists seem able or willing to go, and I can choose what kind of gap I like before entering. I haven't had anybody fail to yield and enter a roundabout too close to me while riding in one - yet - but the slow speeds involved make it seem like it would be easy to take evasive action.

    As I've become more confident I've found myself entering small roundabouts more readily, accepting somewhat smaller gaps before approaching cars already in the roundabout since they won't need to slow for me given my ability to match their speed. A redneck in a pickup truck entered a small roundabout at high speed from a street ~90 degrees to my left at the same time I entered it from my street. He seemed intent on intimidating me, but he overestimated his cornering ability, and squealed his tires around the curve and slowed down before reaching his exit, well after I had passed it.

    As roundabouts scale up, their speeds increase, and I think the safety benefits for cyclists decline. I ride regularly through free-flowing slip-lane type intersections, and it requires a lot of attention, despite having only one or two conflicts to deal with at a time. Multi-lane roundabouts have a lot more going on at once. Hopefully drivers will learn to put down their cell phones when approaching roundabouts of any size, and pay as much attention as I am.

  17. #17
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    Most of my experience is also with roundabouts having the smaller radius, single lane configuration. I find these a refreshing alternative to traditional intersections, because, at least in theory, they keep the traffic flowing and eliminate unnecessary stops and starts. I can typically navigate these faster than motor vehicles, and I position myself centerish to make sure I control what is happening behind me.

    Roundabouts are a recent thing here, and some motorists don't seem to know how to handle them. Some drivers entering the roundabout don't yield to vehicles already in the roundabout, like they should; and some already in the roundabout inappropriately yield to vehicles entering. So they don't always seem to work as smoothly as they should. I've also observed evidence of more serious roundabout abuse: tire tracks and bent over signs in the roundabout infield. These are the motorists one should probably worry about the most.

  18. #18
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    As an aside, the four older roundabouts are responsible for increasing safety and business access and decreasing travel times along Golden Road. Here's a great report on it: http://ci.golden.co.us/files/roundaboutpaper.pdf

    Its a perfect example of you can still get faster travel times even with slower speed limits (it was reduced from 40mph to 30mph)
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    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    I don't necessarily agree with the advice to use the inner lane if exiting at 270 degrees in a multi-lane roundabout-- unless it is specifically marked that the outer lane is to turn or go straight. Sure, that is how a motorized vehicle should do it, but I try to be practical.

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