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What's your take on roundabouts?

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What's your take on roundabouts?

Old 09-07-17, 11:59 AM
  #1  
cthenn
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What's your take on roundabouts?

They are coming to a city near you soon enough. More and more of them are popping up in my area, and though I understand they are generally beneficial to traffic flows, as a cyclist, I don't like them. First of all, drivers are generally all terrible, overly-aggressive, and usually distracted by something other than actually driving the car. Secondly, no one in this country knows how to use them. Every time I come to one, I see tentativeness, aggressiveness, and general disarray with drivers not sure how to go through them. It's extremely nerve-wracking to make a left through a roundabout, with cars hurtling toward the circle from the right. I just pray these people actually see me in the circle, and stop in time. Then there's the whole funneling-down of the lanes into the circle. And naturally, when drivers see a cyclist in front of them, THEY MUST GET IN FRONT OF THEM AT ALL COSTS! I don't know how many times I've had a car speed up to jam in front of me as I'm trying to merge out of a bike lane or shoulder into the traffic circle lane, then have to slam the brakes anyway because of traffic already in the circle.

I just really think because of the habits of US drivers, and their lack of familiarity with roundabouts is a bad combination for cyclists, and usually try to avoid them if I can. I wonder what others feel about these things, and there are usually more or less close calls in a roundabout vs. traffic lights, or stop signs, etc.
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Old 09-07-17, 12:14 PM
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Funnily enough, I quite like roundabouts on the bike (or in a car). It's one fewer stop sign, and when clear I can take them at speed. It's the one place on the road with little to no speed differential between myself and the surrounding vehicles. Granted, I live in a rural area, so I've never had to ride through a really busy one.
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Old 09-07-17, 12:28 PM
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I like to bunny hop onto them and then do a small kick-out on the way down.
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Old 09-07-17, 12:36 PM
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Traffic circles are new in Georgia and no one knows how to use them.

New England has many and people are more used to them.
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Old 09-07-17, 12:38 PM
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We've had several round-a-bouts in my area for probably 12 years or more. I find that people that hit them aggressively are my friends, it's predictable what they will do. People that are tentative and afraid to enter them make traveling through one very unpredictable and unsafe.

Of the two traffic circles here I travel regularly by car, the big diameter one works better. This is also the one that I bike through sometimes. It's fine if I'm not in rush hour traffic.
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Old 09-07-17, 12:41 PM
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I like them, but I can see them being an issue if drivers don't know how to properly use them.

We have a few and I haven't had any issues using them. I take the lane and signal my intent to leave at my exit, so far I've not encountered any aggressive or dangerous drivers on one.
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Old 09-07-17, 12:42 PM
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I like them better than stop signs. Those are never fun when you arrive at the same time as someone else. They also make left turns safer.

However, you do have to expect that people are going to pull out in front of you. Some people don't see you, others misjudge how fast you're going, and some people are just ********.
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Old 09-07-17, 12:46 PM
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Overall, roundabouts are good for cyclists. They reduce crossflow at intersections, sparing us the risk of left crosses and stop sign burners.

Also, depending on the details, slow the speed through the intersections by eliminating straight line flow.
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Old 09-07-17, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Overall, roundabouts are good for cyclists. They reduce crossflow at intersections, sparing us the risk of left crosses and stop sign burners.

Also, depending on the details, slow the speed through the intersections by eliminating straight line flow.
Well, they usually reduce that:
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Old 09-07-17, 01:11 PM
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People were real pushy tonight, on my a** everywhere.

I was just minutes from my destination, car in front, one riding me from behind.

This complex has giant water fountain round de rounds.

I took the left side [done many times].

What i didn't know was car in front was making a left circle behind the fountain where i couldn't see him.

I had a split second to hit a curb head on with a concrete mounted bench or bang off the car.

I hit the brakes hard at 30 mph but didnt slow much.

*** Fortunately the car broke my fall .....[lol]

First to hit was front wheel, somehow went airbourne and landed [hard] on my left hip facing backward.

Some guy getting off work that saw it gave me a ride home.

Left hood was out of whack, stem needed adjusting, front wheel needs a slight true.

Other than that i seem okay.

Walking tomorrow may not work but beats the E-room.

Carbon bikes can take a licking but i don't want to do that again.

Thats the 4th time in my life. I'm not getting any younger.
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Old 09-07-17, 01:16 PM
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I find it depends on the size. There's one I'll be riding through Saturday, and will be approaching it from the one side with a traffic light that feeds a strip mall. Usually, it is pretty empty (which is why it is there) but during busier times it gets a bit hairy especially with 18-wheelers having to use it.
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Old 09-07-17, 01:24 PM
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in my opinion they rely on cooperation. yes, some ppl don't want to cooperate they just want to dominate, while others are intimidated, hope for courtesy & fail to assert themselves properly. for example some ppl will stop instead of merge. some ppl will not cooperate & just think they should take the rotary to themselves. frankly those ppl are best left alone, just let them blast thru because they are a real danger. taking a bike thru a rotary is tricky but it can be done but you have to be highly visible with strobes & bright clothing. you also can't wait for traffic to stop for you, it's all about cooperating & merging & being assertive enough. it's still tough tho because there are so many variables it's hard t always have 100% accurate judgement, especially jacked on adrenaline. there has to be a level of forgiveness as well. hand signals help. and situational awareness

a rotary in a regular 30 mile loop I do. fortunately I don't have to ride thru much of it, just a little bit on one side, then I'm outta there!

same rotary w cam facing the rear, skip to 1:03

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Old 09-07-17, 01:32 PM
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I like them, I suggested that my local bike club to organize a crit, using just the roundabout as the lap...I don't think it's going to happen.
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Old 09-07-17, 01:41 PM
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I like the idea of them, and more of them are popping up in my area. Unfortunately, they seem to be too small to be effective where they have been placed [along with the general confusion they bring to drivers (often including myself, I'll admit) unfamiliar with the correct method of use].

Edit: I have only dealt with one on a bicycle so far- where the MUP crosses one across two of the lanes, and while cyclists have the right of way according to the signage, that does tend to back up traffic- and probably doesn't do much for goodwill for either cyclists or roundabouts.
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Old 09-07-17, 01:41 PM
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I loved the roundabouts in France. But then, everybody knew the drill there.
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Old 09-07-17, 01:51 PM
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Not particular about them on busy streets but wish there was more around my residential streets. My neighbors treat stop signs as suggestions so anything that slow them down is good in my books.
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Old 09-07-17, 01:54 PM
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It depends in the design. A well designed round-a-bout is great - a poorly designed one creates problems. A good round-a-bout is NOT a traffic circle. A good round-a-bout forces cars to slow (almost stop) as it enters the circle. There is only one circle lane. It is large enough around so that cars must travel in the circle.

A traffic circle can have multiple lanes which can create conflict with cars in the circle - some want to exit right and others want to continue in the circle. A "button" round-a-bout is a small cirlce. Probably okay for a quiet neighborhood street but not good for a busy intersection. Cars in a button round-about do not have slow to enter the circle and they can go almost straight through which defeats the purpose.

Finally, officials need to better help people know how to go through a round-about. Yield to cars in the circle before entering.
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Old 09-07-17, 03:29 PM
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Roundabouts are relatively new here and some drivers are still perplexed by them. That said, inexperience usually results in them getting around slower and sometimes yielding when they shouldn't (to vehicles looking to enter), so while it's annoying, it's usually not dangerous. On the whole, I like roundabouts a lot, both in the car and on the bike - even on roads with 50+ mph speed limits, the circles slow down to 20mph and are easily navigable.
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Old 09-07-17, 03:55 PM
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Pro-roundabout
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Old 09-07-17, 04:03 PM
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Hate 'em. There are a few roundabouts in my area and I avoid the damned things.

If drivers need to "learn" how to use them, then the roundabout is an inherently flawed design. It should be intuitive or it's pointless.
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Old 09-07-17, 04:16 PM
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I like them. I started riding with them, and driving with them. I much prefer them to all other intersection stuff.

Actually things that cause uncertainty for drivers I think tends to be good. They stop txting, talking and pay attention and look because they don't really know what is going to happen next.
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Old 09-07-17, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Hate 'em. There are a few roundabouts in my area and I avoid the damned things.

If drivers need to "learn" how to use them, then the roundabout is an inherently flawed design. It should be intuitive or it's pointless.
They're okay, unless they mess up the flow with Yield signs in the wrong places (you know the one I'm talking about, cank).

Generally I don't have trouble negotiating them.
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Old 09-07-17, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
They're okay, unless they mess up the flow with Yield signs in the wrong places (you know the one I'm talking about, cank).

Generally I don't have trouble negotiating them.
Like the roundabout at Clearfork by Mellow Johnny's? Even with the current light level of traffic that one is a flustercluck if any vehicles are around. Lost track of how many times cars have treated the two lanes as one gigantic single lane and swerved toward me while I'm on the outside intending to continue ahead past MJ's toward the bridge.

And, yeah, that yield sign shouldn't be there at all. Defeats the whole purpose of a roundabout -- if it were a properly designed roundabout. Which it isn't.

Did I mention I hate the things?
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Old 09-07-17, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Traffic circles are new in Georgia and no one knows how to use them.

New England has many and people are more used to them.
Roundabouts (or traffic circles, and I understand they're commonly known as in the US), are extremely common here in Australia and many European countries.

I think they are generally a "danger zone" for cyclists in my opinion, particularly the large multi-lane ones.

First there are the approaches. Many cars think they should race you to get to the entrance line on the roundabout, which is often slightly narrower than the approach road, giving an ideal opportunity to be squeezed off the road. You have to “take the lane” to avoid being overtaken.

Because of the “give way to the right rule” (same in all countries I think), many cars will try to race across if they think they have time to beat another driver to their right who is just about the enter the roundabout (or who already on it, but some distance away). This creates a bad driver mindset for a cyclist who might be in front of the driver, because the driver is looking to their right, and not directly ahead - increasing the risk of being rear-ended.

Some drivers just won’t see you when you are crossing, so having some kind of lateral hi-vis (tire rims etc.) is really helpful. This is much worse at night.

Multi-lane roundabout are the worst if you have to negotiate multiple exits. If you are going 3/4 of the way round, you need to position yourself in the right hand lane, and on a big roundabout (some European ones can be over 100m in diameter) you are sitting in the middle of 2 or more lines of relatively fast traffic with drivers who are turning and searching for their exit. Not good….

At busy times, I will simply avoid these, and makes multiple pedestrian crossings to work my way around the circle.
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Old 09-07-17, 04:41 PM
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There is one by my fathers place. I would not ride a bicycle through it in a million years. And I'm not timid in traffic. It has been aptly named 'Suicide Circle' for good reason for decades. The picture doesn;'t do it justice. There's normally traffic backed up for a half mile at 2 of the feeder streets, with half the people confused, and the other half angry. It's an absolute **** show there. Apparently they're looking at redesigning it...

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