Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Roundabouts

Old 01-09-15, 09:21 AM
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dalava
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Roundabouts

They are putting in more and more Roundabouts in my area instead of 4-way stops or lights. In fact, there are retrofitting one very close to my house which used to be a 2-way stop crossing because of increased traffic volume.

I think the advantage of roundabouts for cars is pretty clear, but how about to cyclists in terms of safety? There are also single and multi-lane roundabouts. How do you ride them?
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Old 01-09-15, 09:41 AM
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They're doing the same thing around my house. I HATE them. I think drivers are far to distracted looking for their exit and other cars coming in to be looking for us. We always have to ride like they don't see us, but in roundabouts, it has to be taken to a whole new level. If there is any other route, I'll avoid the roundabouts at any almost any cost.
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Old 01-09-15, 09:42 AM
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IME, I can generally get through the roundabouts in my area with no drama because I can get through them faster than cars
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Old 01-09-15, 09:44 AM
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But I definitely take the lane entering and in the roundabout, then shift over right after
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Old 01-09-15, 09:47 AM
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Roundabouts are the most efficient busy intersection WHEN EVERYONE IS AN EXPERT AT NEGOTIATING THEM. Otherwise they are horrible. Big problem for bikes. In a car you ride the inside lane until just before your exit, then move to the outside lane and exit. That allows cars to enter the outside lane and not be held up. Bikes nearly always should be in the outside lane on a straghtaway, but what to do in a roundabout. Forgive me for getting this far along and then saying I just don't know. I am guessing you just have to stay in the outside lane all the way around to your exit. Entering and exiting cars just have to watch out for you. Ouch!
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Old 01-09-15, 09:53 AM
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Our roundabouts have bike lanes but I have found it to seem safer taking the lane. I do believe they are very dangerous for cyclists because most drivers don't understand how to use them.
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Old 01-09-15, 10:00 AM
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I treat them almost as I would do in a car but always use clear hand signals for the people in cars can see! not fast motions stick your arm out (wave it if needed) make sure they see you and your intentions. Don't slow down if you can help it keep your speed up so you do not hold up the cars.
If your on a 2 lane round about and the inside lane stick to the right of it when clear hand signal move to the right lane, but every round about has its own quarks so that is a on basis call.
I don't find them to bad just make sure people see you and make your intentions clear as you move thru them.
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Old 01-09-15, 10:00 AM
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Well-designed roundabouts are supposed to reduce car speeds to around 15 mph. In single-lane roundabouts, cyclists should take the lane so that they don't get right-hooked by a passing/exiting car. Multi-lane roundabouts should be avoided whenever possible.

Feeder roads into and out of roundabouts usually are designed with splitter islands that include crosswalks for pedestrians. If you don't feel safe using the roundabout, you can always turn onto a feeder road and use the crosswalk.
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Old 01-09-15, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
Well-designed roundabouts are supposed to reduce car speeds to around 15 mph. In single-lane roundabouts, cyclists should take the lane so that they don't get right-hooked by a passing/exiting car. Multi-lane roundabouts should be avoided whenever possible.

Feeder roads into and out of roundabouts usually are designed with splitter islands that include crosswalks for pedestrians. If you don't feel safe using the roundabout, you can always turn onto a feeder road and use the crosswalk.
That's probably a prudent thing to do, especially when the roundabout just opens. I think I will do that in a few months time.
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Old 01-09-15, 10:05 AM
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Just ride through like a car. You can usually zip through most of them just as fast as they can.
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Old 01-09-15, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by JTGraphics View Post
I treat them almost as I would do in a car but always use clear hand signals for the people in cars can see! not fast motions stick your arm out (wave it if needed) make sure they see you and your intentions. Don't slow down if you can help it keep your speed up so you do not hold up the cars.
If your on a 2 lane round about and the inside lane stick to the right of it when clear hand signal move to the right lane, but every round about has its own quarks so that is a on basis call.
I don't find them to bad just make sure people see you and make your intentions clear as you move thru them.
+1 I agree with you, as far as busy intersections go, I prefer the roundabout.
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Old 01-09-15, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by dalava View Post
That's probably a prudent thing to do, especially when the roundabout just opens. I think I will do that in a few months time.
If there are bike lanes on the feeder road you're using as you approach the roundabout, a common design is to provide a curb break before the roundabout. This way, cyclists who choose to avoid the roundabout can use the curb break to go up on the sidewalk, turn right at the roundabout (still on the sidewalk), and then turn left into the crosswalk (like a pedestrian).
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Old 01-09-15, 10:19 AM
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There are some roundabouts around here and the numbers are very slowly increasing.
I think *all* lights should be replaced by roundabouts.

That said, I don't like the one that is dual lane. It just adds the complication of trying to determine if the car on the inside lane is going to change lanes just as I enter.
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Old 01-09-15, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
They're doing the same thing around my house. I HATE them. I think drivers are far to distracted looking for their exit and other cars coming in to be looking for us. We always have to ride like they don't see us, but in roundabouts, it has to be taken to a whole new level. If there is any other route, I'll avoid the roundabouts at any almost any cost.
+1 There's several single lane roundabouts that don't have a high volume of traffic and they're easy to negotiate as long as you don't have an idiot in a hurry trying to get around you. There's a multi-lane roundabout that spills onto Clearwater beach that always gets me puckered up. Vehicles are easily distracted and some not from the area are like a deer in the headlights trying to figure out which way to go. I stay on the outside lane and try to get around and out as quickly as possible. There's no way to avoid it unfortunately.
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Old 01-09-15, 12:18 PM
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I've had problems with entering cars not yielding to me. The smartest way to ride them is enter at speed, tuck behind a car, and stick close to it for shielding.
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Old 01-09-15, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
There are some roundabouts around here and the numbers are very slowly increasing.
I think *all* lights should be replaced by roundabouts.

That said, I don't like the one that is dual lane. It just adds the complication of trying to determine if the car on the inside lane is going to change lanes just as I enter.
Roundabouts are great up to a certain volume of traffic, but in some junctions in Ireland they ended up over-subscribed and had to be retrofitted. If you think a 2-lane roundabout is confusing/confusing, try negotiating a 3-lane roundabout with a stop light at each intersection.

The roundabout is a much more efficient traffic measure than the 4-way stop sign and some light signal junctions, but it does have its limitations. Once drivers get used to them, they flow quickly and everybody gets where they're going faster and with less stop-start motion. For cyclists, it's a good idea to try and stick to the single-lane ones where possible, be aware of traffic behind you, make yourself as visible as possible, and take your lane where practical. Remember that once you're on the roundabout, you have right of way over anyone entering the roundabout, but it's also your responsibility to get through it as quickly as possible.
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Old 01-09-15, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Jiggle View Post
I've had problems with entering cars not yielding to me. The smartest way to ride them is enter at speed, tuck behind a car, and stick close to it for shielding.
I wouldn't call that the "smartest" way. I'd call it a quick, but possibly reckless, way of getting through.
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Old 01-09-15, 12:35 PM
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Roundabouts are stupid.
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Old 01-09-15, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
Roundabouts are stupid.
There are roundabouts that people put in stupid places, and there are people who are too stupid to deal with roundabouts, but the roundabout itself is an excellent design.
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Old 01-09-15, 12:44 PM
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Nope. They're definitely stupid. They can also be extremely dicey in the winter since the plow can't properly get in there and all the cars are braking and starting within them while turning. Just an overall stupid idea.
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Old 01-09-15, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
Roundabouts are great up to a certain volume of traffic, but in some junctions in Ireland they ended up over-subscribed and had to be retrofitted. If you think a 2-lane roundabout is confusing/confusing, try negotiating a 3-lane roundabout with a stop light at each intersection.

The roundabout is a much more efficient traffic measure than the 4-way stop sign and some light signal junctions, but it does have its limitations. Once drivers get used to them, they flow quickly and everybody gets where they're going faster and with less stop-start motion. For cyclists, it's a good idea to try and stick to the single-lane ones where possible, be aware of traffic behind you, make yourself as visible as possible, and take your lane where practical. Remember that once you're on the roundabout, you have right of way over anyone entering the roundabout, but it's also your responsibility to get through it as quickly as possible.
So what you are saying is: don't use roundabouts as lap training?
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Old 01-09-15, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
Nope. They're definitely stupid. They can also be extremely dicey in the winter since the plow can't properly get in there and all the cars are braking and starting within them while turning. Just an overall stupid idea.
Obviously I can see how they'd cause issues for snowplough drivers. Where I grew up cycling and driving through roundabouts, snow generally wasn't a factor. I'd say to effectively clear them, the plough would have to go around a couple extra times and obviously make a wider path than on the regular roadway.

If people are braking and starting within the roundabout, it comes back to my point about "people too stupid to negotiate them." I visited friends in rural PA a couple winters ago and nobody had problems getting through the freshly-ploughed roundabout just near their house.


Originally Posted by dalava View Post
So what you are saying is: don't use roundabouts as lap training?
Well that depends on the size of the roundabout, doesn't it. I'd imagine in a single-lane junction you'd get quite dizzy quite quickly. Something about this size, though, is probably bigger than a velodrome, so shouldn't present such problems.

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Old 01-09-15, 01:37 PM
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I really like them. They are much safer for cyclists that having to deal with busy intersections with four ways stops or traffic lights.

Great crit training as well
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Old 01-09-15, 01:54 PM
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There are several roundabouts where I live and I think they're great for both cars and bikes. People go slow and watch for each other. Bike through a roundabout the same as you would drive through it. Take the lane and simply be another vehicle - you're pedaling at the same speed as the cars go. I'd rather go through a roundabout than a four-way stop anytime. Based on my experience, I really can't understand why people don't like them. I've known people who were opposed to them before they were built then liked them after they were built. I have never heard from somebody who thought they were a good idea then didn't like them when the idea became reality. I'm particularly surprised to hear the emotional criticism of roundabouts on this forum because in my experience the people who usually don't like roundabouts usually hate cyclists too. Oh well....
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Old 01-09-15, 02:10 PM
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Newton Circus in Singapore is *the* worst roundabout in the world to drive through, cycle through or just be near. 5 multi-lane roads merging into a 3 land circle. Nightmare! And yes, I've ridden through it but only very late or very early. And I don't want to cast aspersions but Singaporean drivers are the pits. Got hit by a car walking through an intersection once (cross walk, pedestrian light, the whole 9 yards were in my favor), twice while riding and again while driving in just 3 short years. I was waiting at a light once and some lady in her mercedes just sort of nudged me out of the way with her car. No lie.



Anyway, any traffic circle that only has one lane is trivial to negotiate on a bike IMO and better than getting stuck at a light that won't change.
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