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Old 05-03-07, 07:48 AM   #1
skanking biker
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Merging into roundabout

What is the proper proceedure for mergining into a rountabout. I've got a road that is 1 lane each direction with a bike lane on either side. The road is heavily travelled so I tend to use the BL. However, the BL ends right before the roundabout. If there is a vehicle coming up along side of me as I approach the end of the BL, should I yield to the car or should the car yeild to me.

I ask because I nearly got run over my some JAM in a Hummer last night.
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Old 05-03-07, 08:14 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by skanking biker
What is the proper proceedure for mergining into a rountabout. I've got a road that is 1 lane each direction with a bike lane on either side. The road is heavily travelled so I tend to use the BL. However, the BL ends right before the roundabout. If there is a vehicle coming up along side of me as I approach the end of the BL, should I yield to the car or should the car yeild to me.

I ask because I nearly got run over my some JAM in a Hummer last night.
Road engineering standards and guidelines indicate that bike lanes should never be painted inside roundabouts. This is because cyclists should not keep right inside a roundabout, but should take the lane. It's prudent to take the lane at the approach to the roundabout, and keep it all the way through. Merge early. If someone else is there, they have the right of way. You need to negotiate, or move in behind them.
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Old 05-03-07, 08:17 AM   #3
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I guess you have to yield to those on your left when dealing with roundabouts. If you can take the lane at the entrance, you'll only have to yield to people already inside.
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Old 05-04-07, 09:33 AM   #4
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Since this was actually right before you came to the roundabout, I'd say handle the situation like you would if you were in a wide lane that before the intersection narrowed to a lane you couldn't share. Merge into one lane and proceed like you normally would in a car. With a vehicle fast approaching from behind, slow down and get out into the lane behind them.
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Old 05-04-07, 09:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by skanking biker
However, the BL ends right before the roundabout. If there is a vehicle coming up along side of me as I approach the end of the BL, should I yield to the car or should the car yeild to me.
If the bike lane ends very close to the roundabout, you'll need to merge out of it earlier, just like when preparing to turn left, or avoiding right hooks.
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Old 05-04-07, 09:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
Since this was actually right before you came to the roundabout, I'd say handle the situation like you would if you were in a wide lane that before the intersection narrowed to a lane you couldn't share. Merge into one lane and proceed like you normally would in a car. With a vehicle fast approaching from behind, slow down and get out into the lane behind them.


Just a small nit... saying, "like you normally would riding a motorcycle" might convey proper lane positioning more effectively.

Of course, this is also a good time to emphasize the basics of merging:
  • Always look back over your shoulder by turning your head first (if you don't know how to maintain a straight line while looking back, practice in an empty parking lot by riding along a straight stripe and trying to stay on it while looking back).
  • If it's clear, you can merge.
  • If someone is there, your intent to merge is likely to be conveyed by the look back alone.
  • If they're not yielding, use a standard left arm turn signal.
  • Once they've slowed to let you in, or they pass you and it's clear, you can merge.

Also, once in the circle, if I'm approaching an opening in which I'm not exiting, and there is someone there or approaching, I will often signal left or point ahead to make it clear I'm not exiting there. Similarly, when I am approaching the point at which I'm leaving, I'll merge right a bit and signal right.
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Old 05-04-07, 10:41 AM   #7
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Get a can of black paint and wipe out the BL for the 200' before the roundabout. That will lessen the driver reluctance to let you merge early.

Seriously though. From: http://www.azdot.gov/CCPartnerships/Roundabouts/faq.asp

"Bicycles have two choices to negotiate a Roundabout. The more avid and skilled bicyclists can merge into a traffic lane before the bike lane ends; ride close to the middle of the lane to prevent vehicles from passing and cutting the bicyclist off; enter the Roundabout after yielding to vehicles within the Roundabout; circulate the Roundabout being careful to watch for vehicles waiting to enter the Roundabout; and exit the Roundabout as a normal vehicle would do. Bicyclists not wanting to enter the Roundabout can enter the sidewalk using the ramps where the bike lane ends, and proceed around the Roundabout as a pedestrian."

Al
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Old 05-04-07, 12:12 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info. Here's another question abut roundabouts, as i have only encountered them recently: I know you yield to traffic on the left but what point consitutes "left"? In other words if a vehcile enters from the oppossite direction a second before you get to the entrance, must you wait for the opposing vehicle to go around or can you enter so long as the vehicle is not in your "half" of the circle? If you do the former you never get into the roundabout with busy traffic. If you do the latter you run the risk of being rear ended.

I know roundabouts are suppossed to improve traffic flow and reduce the seriousness of accidents but a lot of people (including me) dont know all the rules for using them and sometimes they seem more dangerous. Another thing I don't like is that you can never tell where a car is going in a roundabout as you would at an intersection. Cars turn on their turn signals at intersections but never do at roundabouts---so i never know if the dude on the other end is intending to go stright or if he is gonna whip around the circle and "turn left."
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Old 05-04-07, 01:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by skanking biker
Thanks for the info. Here's another question abut roundabouts, as i have only encountered them recently: I know you yield to traffic on the left but what point consitutes "left"? In other words if a vehcile enters from the oppossite direction a second before you get to the entrance, must you wait for the opposing vehicle to go around or can you enter so long as the vehicle is not in your "half" of the circle? If you do the former you never get into the roundabout with busy traffic. If you do the latter you run the risk of being rear ended.

I know roundabouts are suppossed to improve traffic flow and reduce the seriousness of accidents but a lot of people (including me) dont know all the rules for using them and sometimes they seem more dangerous. Another thing I don't like is that you can never tell where a car is going in a roundabout as you would at an intersection. Cars turn on their turn signals at intersections but never do at roundabouts---so i never know if the dude on the other end is intending to go stright or if he is gonna whip around the circle and "turn left."
I treat it like entering a regular street. If the other traffic has to even let off on the gas when you pull out, then you didn't have enough room to pull out.
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Old 05-04-07, 04:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Get a can of black paint and wipe out the BL for the 200' before the roundabout. That will lessen the driver reluctance to let you merge early.

Seriously though. From: http://www.azdot.gov/CCPartnerships/Roundabouts/faq.asp

"Bicycles have two choices to negotiate a Roundabout. The more avid and skilled bicyclists can merge into a traffic lane before the bike lane ends; ride close to the middle of the lane to prevent vehicles from passing and cutting the bicyclist off; enter the Roundabout after yielding to vehicles within the Roundabout; circulate the Roundabout being careful to watch for vehicles waiting to enter the Roundabout; and exit the Roundabout as a normal vehicle would do. Bicyclists not wanting to enter the Roundabout can enter the sidewalk using the ramps where the bike lane ends, and proceed around the Roundabout as a pedestrian."

Al
Yet another piece of evidence connecting bike lanes with the "rolling pedestrian" paradigm.
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Old 05-04-07, 04:18 PM   #11
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Yet another piece of evidence connecting bike lanes with the "rolling pedestrian" paradigm.
But also with evidence of ADOT recognising vehicular cycling.

Al
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Old 05-04-07, 04:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
I treat it like entering a regular street. If the other traffic has to even let off on the gas when you pull out, then you didn't have enough room to pull out.
Exactly.

The cool thing about traffic rules, including those that apply in roundabouts, is, in the end, that they're usually the only logical way to do it. The people in the circle have to have the ROW, or the circle could theoretically jam up forever. But having the ROW doesn't mean they have the ROW to the entire circle. What would be the point of that? So if you can enter the circle without affecting anyone who is already in it, you're not violating their ROW when you enter: go for it.

But if you're not sure what that guy in the circle is doing, whether he is going to turn right out of the circle or continue within it, and, if he continues within it you would be cutting him off if he entered right now, then wait.

By the way, as much as you're annoyed by circle users who don't signal, you annoy others probably just as much when you don't signal. That's why I mentioned signalling earlier: it's very helpful.
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Old 05-04-07, 04:24 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by noisbeam
But also with evidence of ADOT recognising vehicular cycling.
Indeed, but, again, note the context: distinguishing VC from bike lane use at the intersection approach.
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Old 05-04-07, 11:31 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head

By the way, as much as you're annoyed by circle users who don't signal, you annoy others probably just as much when you don't signal. That's why I mentioned signalling earlier: it's very helpful.
I generally make eye contact with the driver waiting at the next etrance and point to where I am going
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