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Roundabouts

Old 07-11-20, 07:29 PM
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Random11
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Roundabouts

My almost daily ride takes me through the same roundabout twice. (I like the route because I can ride from my house and don't have to drive the bike anywhere to ride it.) Most days the roundabout is no problem, but from time to time I have two problems--both of them today.

(1) The roundabout is the only part of my ride where I go faster than motor vehicles. The road is one lane but pretty wide leading up to the roundabout, and the roundabout is narrower than the roads leading up to it. Vehicles hurry up to pass me as I come to the roundabout, but then slow down when they get to the roundabout so they are right beside me trying to squeeze into the narrow roundabout lane. Sometimes I'll move over to try to take the lane, but the road is wide enough that vehicles still pull around to get beside me as I enter the roundabout.

(2) When a vehicle is in the roundabout, I try to time my entry to go behind the vehicle, but sometimes vehicles see me coming and stop in the roundabout even though they have the right of way. I stop too, because I'm not going to pull my bike out in front of a motor vehicle that has the right of way and risk being run over. So there we are, vehicle stopped in the roundabout and me stopped waiting to enter. I don't know why they stop. Either it is misplaced courtesy (I'm planning on following a moving vehicle through the roundabout) or perhaps fear that I'm going to pass in front of them and they don't want to hit me. I'd be more sympathetic if it was the second reason rather than the first.

Do you ride through roundabouts? Do you have any trouble dealing with motor vehicles in them? I'm guessing that this problem is not unique to my neighborhood.
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Old 07-11-20, 08:00 PM
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I go through a couple of roundabouts on a two of my weekly rides in two directions. I haven’t had any challenges with people stopping in the roundabout. Most seem to know once we’re in how to handle themselves. Almost every other week though where someone new to roundabout etiquette just doesn’t know how the right of was works which can get awkward. Have had a few minor challenges with both motorists and other cyclists.

Normally we have a pretty good sized group going in and out but often solo as well.
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Old 07-12-20, 07:31 AM
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I know Europeans love roundabouts but Americans don't know how to use them. I hate 'em and avoid them whenever possible. There's one near the main drag of the popular MUP and if there's even a single vehicle approaching the roundabout you can bet the driver will manage to screw it up.

There are some older roundabouts in my area that are even worse. I'm sure the designer thought it would be an artsy way to spice up the old historical neighborhoods and maybe control the traffic. But it just makes things worse.

And if roundabouts really worked in Europe they wouldn't be resorting to these indecipherable paint schemes that supposedly "help" direct motor vehicle, cycling and pedestrian traffic. If the physical infrastructure doesn't already solve the problem, paint ain't gonna make it better.
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Old 07-12-20, 08:04 AM
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I ride solo through a couple of round-a-bouts quite regularly. As I approach I am riding on the road shoulder, but when I am within 50' or so I safely move in and take the lane. I ride through the r-a-b just as if I were a car. This is the safest and best way I have found. It sends a clear message to drivers of your intentions. It is also consistent with our local traffic laws, and it works very well.

This illustrates what I am talking about:
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Old 07-12-20, 09:56 AM
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We've had a few around here for over 15 years or more. Some single lane, some double lane. Some people that drive them every day still don't seem to understand them. They stop before entering even though there is no stop sign and no traffic from the left.

One double lane traffic circle is less than a mile from me. I do occasionally go through on a bicycle when I take a less frequented route to change things up. If there is a reasonable amount of traffic or less, I'll go through it in my lane. If there are a lot of cars and the entry points are backed up, then I'll just take the right turn bypass and then go down to another road to rejoin my route.
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Old 07-12-20, 11:46 AM
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The only Roundabout I like.

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Old 07-12-20, 11:58 AM
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You should be able to take the lane so that no vehicle can come around you. Do that. The vehicles that stop even though you are stopped are idiots. Wave them through then bang on your helmet. Signal your exit from the roundabout.

The only slightly dangerous thing I've seen is with group rides. The lead rider must signal if they're going to stop for a car that's entering the roundabout and the other riders need to watch that rider rather than the entering car, then deal with cars once they are the entering bicycle. Groups have to realize that they will have to filter through the roundabout. They must not try to enter as a single vehicle.
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Old 07-12-20, 02:33 PM
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Cars in roundabouts always stop for me to enter as well. They are pretty new here so I don’t think everyone know proper roundabout etiquette.
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Old 07-12-20, 02:56 PM
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As I near my local rotary, I move to the middle of the lane on the two lane road, remain in the middle of the lane through the rotary and then move to the right edge of the roadway after exiting the rotary. Works like a charm to avoid getting squeezed or cut off in the rotary.
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Old 07-12-20, 03:18 PM
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Roundabouts? You mean Obama Circles used by satellites to find and target all the real Americans (tm)? Actual belief by a colleague.

I get your frustration, especially the folks who yield in the circle! Best I can do is just avoid the conflict and time accordingly. The overly deferential motorist is an amazingly vexing creature.
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Old 07-12-20, 09:01 PM
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The traffic circle that I use frequently is one lane and it's primary purpose is a speed control at an awkward three road intersection. I take the lane as I approach it and attempt to use a car in front me as a screen until I exit if possible. If necessary I will stop to yield to an impatient car but I can usually stay beside and to the rear of my screen until exit.
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Old 07-13-20, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by cybirr View Post
...The overly deferential motorist is an amazingly vexing creature.
A local friend calls those "niceholes."
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Old 07-13-20, 04:23 AM
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The problem with multi-lane roundabouts is the driver who's in the wrong lane for a turn and rather than just making another loop around the roundabout, slams on the brakes and tries to swerve across traffic to make their turn. It would take maybe 15-30 seconds to just make another loop and do it safely.

The single lane roundabouts seem less confusing for most drivers. But if the single lane is too wide, a cycling taking the lane for his own safety can't be sure an impatient or confused driver won't nudge them aside anyway.

A nearby McMansion development on a formerly rural ranch began the project with some Nuevo-Euro style bridges and roundabouts, presumably to tart the place up so prospective buyers could see the tone of the development while perusing the vacant lots. But the designers only thought of the cosmetics, not the functionality. For example, they built a three lane boulevard that encourages driving too fast for conditions, then inexplicably bottleneck it into a single lane. And the cloverleaf entrances/exits for the fancy looking bridges are neither wide enough nor narrow enough. If they were narrower, drivers would know to slow down and take it easy. Instead they approach the cloverleafs way too fast and have already nicked up the lovely Pseudo-Euro rails, because the wider-but-not-quite-wide-enough single lane seems visually confusing.

Of course the main problem is Americans are terrible drivers suffering from NASCAR delusions but actually driving like demolition derby rookies.
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Old 07-13-20, 06:57 AM
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On single lane roundabouts, take the lane. Move out enough that a car cannot pass you. And if the roundabout has medians leading up to it - as the normally do - take the lane far enough out so that no cars are trying to pass you once the median starts.
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Old 07-13-20, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
My almost daily ride takes me through the same roundabout twice. (I like the route because I can ride from my house and don't have to drive the bike anywhere to ride it.) Most days the roundabout is no problem, but from time to time I have two problems--both of them today.

(1) The roundabout is the only part of my ride where I go faster than motor vehicles. The road is one lane but pretty wide leading up to the roundabout, and the roundabout is narrower than the roads leading up to it. Vehicles hurry up to pass me as I come to the roundabout, but then slow down when they get to the roundabout so they are right beside me trying to squeeze into the narrow roundabout lane. Sometimes I'll move over to try to take the lane, but the road is wide enough that vehicles still pull around to get beside me as I enter the roundabout.

(2) When a vehicle is in the roundabout, I try to time my entry to go behind the vehicle, but sometimes vehicles see me coming and stop in the roundabout even though they have the right of way. I stop too, because I'm not going to pull my bike out in front of a motor vehicle that has the right of way and risk being run over. So there we are, vehicle stopped in the roundabout and me stopped waiting to enter. I don't know why they stop. Either it is misplaced courtesy (I'm planning on following a moving vehicle through the roundabout) or perhaps fear that I'm going to pass in front of them and they don't want to hit me. I'd be more sympathetic if it was the second reason rather than the first.

Do you ride through roundabouts? Do you have any trouble dealing with motor vehicles in them? I'm guessing that this problem is not unique to my neighborhood.
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Roundabouts are one place where it's important (IMO) to "take the lane" as you enter - it's one thing being closely passed by a car while everyone's moving in a straight line, but sharing a lane with a vehicle that's steering right as they enter, maybe taking the right exit right across your path, or turning immediately left to use a later exit - this is the stuff of nightmares for a cyclist, particularly when you consider how many drivers appear to be uninterested or unable to stay in lane under the best of circumstances. Timing plays a role here, and I'll adjust my speed approaching a roundabout to coincide with a gap in traffic - but then signal clearly, and take the lane, to ensure that you're not entering the roundabout beside another vehicle. If it's a standard small (ie, single lane) roundabout, you can't be overtaken while in the roundabout, so signal clearly and get off at your exit - but keep your eye out for someone entering while you're already in the roundabout - they shouldn't, but you're a cyclist, so fair game, right?
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Old 07-13-20, 11:19 AM
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There are 12 or 13 roundabouts within three miles of where I live. I actually can’t go for a ride without having to go through at least three of them. Agree with everyone above regarding taking the lane, it’s crucial in a rotary.

I don’t experience people stopping in them for me, maybe it’s because they’ve been here so long everyone is used to them.
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Old 07-13-20, 02:26 PM
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The only roundabout I ever biked was the one around the Arc De Triomphe in Paris on a city bike. I realized when I got there that this is no place for bikes. 12 streets intersect at this roundabout, some of them very busy. The roundabout is about 4 lanes wide and the Arc is in the center so there are busses and cars trying to get to that from every intersecting street. I must have been honked at 50 times in the brief time it took me to go 3/4 of the way around. I'll never do that again.
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Old 07-14-20, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I know Europeans love roundabouts but Americans don't know how to use them. I hate 'em and avoid them whenever possible. There's one near the main drag of the popular MUP and if there's even a single vehicle approaching the roundabout you can bet the driver will manage to screw it up.

There are some older roundabouts in my area that are even worse. I'm sure the designer thought it would be an artsy way to spice up the old historical neighborhoods and maybe control the traffic. But it just makes things worse.

And if roundabouts really worked in Europe they wouldn't be resorting to these indecipherable paint schemes that supposedly "help" direct motor vehicle, cycling and pedestrian traffic. If the physical infrastructure doesn't already solve the problem, paint ain't gonna make it better.
What paint scheme? And which countries in Europe?

I have never had a problem with a car stopping for me, but the car arriving at the roundabout at the same time is always tricky. Because all behave differently, some ignore you completely, some see you suddenly and react weird, like randomly break hard for no actual reason, others are super careful but you also don't want to trust them fully, so... But the only danger I see is if you pull in behind a car, but the car next to you thinks they can also make it before the next car so also pull in.
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Old 07-14-20, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
You should be able to take the lane so that no vehicle can come around you. Do that.
+1 this. That's what the Wisconsin Department of Transportation tells cyclists to do in roundabouts:

Driving bicycles in a roundabout

- If you are riding on the shoulder or bike lane, merge into the traffic lane before the shoulder ends.
- Signal your intent to move into traffic.
- Once inside the roundabout, don't hug the curb.
- Ride close to the middle of the lane to prevent cars from passing and cutting you off.
- Watch for cars waiting to enter the roundabout, as they may not see you.
- If you do not want to ride your bike in the roundabout, use the sidewalk and proceed as a pedestrian.

https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/safety...uts/works.aspx
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Old 07-14-20, 08:51 AM
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The roundabouts here are usually in higher traffic areas so there is an elevated sidewalk with a bike lane around it. Usually if there is a bike lane on the road leading up to the intersection, maybe 100 meters before the bike lane will merge onto the sidewalk, which then either turns into a zebra crosswalk or a traffic signal if the bicycle needs to cross the intersections.

On small rural roads with lower traffic there are no sidewalks but I rarely meet cars at the circle. If I do, the drivers usually respect right of way and no passing in the circle, probably because there is higher ridership here and people are more tolerant of bicycles.
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Old 07-14-20, 09:06 AM
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HATE. I understand the move toward roundabouts in this country, and at some point, the next generation of drivers has to become accustomed to them, but right now, I absolutely hate them. The worst part for me is having no idea if the car coming from my right is actually going to slow down/stop while I'm in the circle. With a stop sign, you at least have the pretense that cars will coming to a (semi) stop. With a roundabout, I have no idea if the car sees me, will yield, or will simply barrel into me. It is the most nerve-wracking experience. Since roundabouts are designed to keep traffic moving, the default action of most drivers is to keep going, only to yield if they actually see someone else (in my case, a single person on a much smaller vehicle) coming. Almost every time I go through them, if a car is coming, I practically stop, unless it's clear they see me and are actually moving slowly enough. But most of the time, cars come FLYING towards them.

The worst are roundabouts with a free right lane. If I'm heading straight through, the worst situation is where a car is on a collision course with me going through a free right. They almost never look, especially in "predictable" roundabouts, where most traffic is headed a different direction. People get used to the idea that the majority of movements through a roundabout is to a certain exit out, and so the drivers headed in the lightly used direction rarely pay attention. And before anyone goes there, I generally wear higher visibility kit, and have both front and rear lights. Doesn't matter, drivers are "glancing" out of their periphery for a certain sized object, not a tiny bike. God forbid, if I ever go, it's going to be in a roundabout, I'm sure of it.

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Old 07-14-20, 09:49 AM
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We have two single lane roundabouts on one of our routes (Dove Road in Southlake, TX.. lots of cyclists). We haven't had any issues, we just follow common car rules.. yield to enter, and take the lane, signal our exit, and all is good! I take it solo a lot, and haven't had any issues.

There are three double-lane roundabout on the NE shore of Grapevine Lake that are nightmares. 98% of traffic basically continues the same direction on the same road (the crossing roads see little traffic), and cars seem to travel 50mph on that 35mph road, so cars stopped using the roundabout lanes, and they just take the straightest path across the circle, which cuts the lanes. If someone actually tried to stay in the lanes, they'd get hit by the cutters!
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Old 07-14-20, 08:09 PM
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always cautious about entering, try to time it right but sometime the plans just fail like today, some guy felt the need to jay walk about 20 yards ahead of the entrance and backed up traffic entering. i was in the left hand lane entering for my 3/4 turn and had to stop behind 3 other cars. normally i can just skate through no problem. for sure you need to take the lane and be alert.
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Old 07-17-20, 10:24 PM
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I ride through heaps of roundabouts. Here in Australia we've got a lot. They're popular.

I take the lane and act like a motor vehicle.
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Old 07-17-20, 10:40 PM
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I used to ride a bunch of them in my commute into Boston many years ago. Boston traffic, so no, I never had to deal with a car stopping for me. Boston drivers don't do that. (Or at least didn't then.) The three o n my commute were at the bottoms of small hills in both directions so I could see everybody, pick my spot and enter going fast. I'd "park" myself on the bumper of a car knowing this was the one place n a Massachusetts roundabout that there wold be no other cars. I trusted that being on a fix gear, my reflexes would give me a few spare feet as soon as I saw that brake light come on. Yes, I was in my 20s, a bike racer and that was a little crazy but it worked very well. No close calls.

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