The safest way to cross a roundabout?

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robing
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The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby robing » 25 Jul 2017, 5:14pm

Having been knocked off my bike yesterday on a roundabout, it made me think what is the safest way to cross one?
I generally try and cross the roundabout as fast as I can once on it, as it's not a safe place to be but if I had been
going slower yesterday I may have been able to avoid the collision. My Garmin showed I was doing 18mph.

thirdcrank
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby thirdcrank » 25 Jul 2017, 5:22pm

This - along with plenty of other stuff - is explored in some detail in Cyclecraft.

http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/

I'd say it's not a matter of speed, but positioning and observation. Also, it may seem like stating the obvious, but there's a lot to be said for avoiding many roundabouts altogether, but easier said than done.

brynpoeth
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby brynpoeth » 25 Jul 2017, 6:28pm

You at 18 mph, vehicles often more than twice as fast? Avoid roundabouts if at all possible, even those with lots of lights to slow the motons

There is a troublesome roundabout near the station here, the expert from the German cycling club told the newspaper: *cycling the roundabout is no problem if one rides confidently and signals clearly!* A few weeks later a cyclist was fatally injured there. I asked the expert whether he could live with himself, whether he could sleep at night. Got no usable reply

Avoid roundabouts wherever possible
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bikerwaser
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby bikerwaser » 25 Jul 2017, 6:40pm

for me it depends how big the roundabout is. If it's a small one then I just check over my right side to see if there's a car coming, then I "own" the lane and do the normal manouver .
If it's a large roundabout then I would never be in the middle. I always hug the centre (right) of the lane, (obviously if i'm going right and then as I need to head to my chosen exit i check over my left and switch lanes.
I also try to increase my speed to attempt to speed match as much as possible.

thirdcrank
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby thirdcrank » 25 Jul 2017, 7:08pm

If you post a streetview of the location, members may be able to give you advice tailored to the layout.

esuhl
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby esuhl » 25 Jul 2017, 8:00pm

I always take the lane on roundabouts and indicate clearly. I approach cautiously at a fairly low speed (5 or 10 mph?) and continually look around to see what other vehicles are doing.

The only time I've been knocked off my bike was at a roundabout, and it was awful. The driver gave me someone else's business card and sped off leaving me injured at the side of the road. I hope you're okay. :-(

After my "hit", I got a couple of front flashing lights and a rear one that I use during the day, and I covered my bike in 3M reflective tape. I also got an AirZound air horn. It's a bit louder than a car horn and it's reassuring to know that it's there if I need it.

irc
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby irc » 25 Jul 2017, 8:44pm

It depends on the roundabout. Assuming one lane on your road entering the roundabout .......
1 Before getting to the RAB take the lane so that any following traffic stays behind you.

2 Look for a gap in the traffic on the RAB, if any

3 At this point you may need to slow/accelerate to get to the RAB when the gap is there. Try and avoid needing to stop at the give way

4 If going straight ahead or right stay well out towards the centre of the RAB. Watch any traffic entering or waiting to enter from the next entrance. This is where being well out towards the centre helps. If a driver doesn't see you there is more warning when he/she crosses the give way line and more time to brake/steer to avoid any crash. Hugging the left on the way round means less time to react.

Signals? I tend to not signal once committed to the RAB. I want my hands on the bars ready to brake/steer if needed. I will signal right on approach for the benefit of following traffic unless the approach road widens to include a dedicated lane for traffic going right. In that case I assume that me taking that lane is enough of a signal to following traffic.

If there is no traffic entering from the first left, I'm going right, and there is traffic approaching the RAB at 12 o'clock then I will signal right as I enter the RAB before banking over for the turn.

Big multi-lane RABs are more tricky and there may not be a good way. I'd tend to ride it like a car. Right lane for going right, left lane for left or straight ahead. It needs assertiveness and hard acceleration to try and keep a good pace going round. If going right then shoulder checks and signals needed before cutting left over the LH lane at your exit.

Roundabouts can also have a tendency to catch diesel spills as HGVs, Vans, or buses with brimmed tanks go round them and drip fuel. Caution needed in the wet especially.

Another potential problem is that depending on the angle of approaching roads the pillar between the windscreen and drivers door can be a blind spot big enough to hide a bike. This is a good reason to make eye contact with drivers waiting to enter. If you can see their eyes then they can see you - if they look.

For big fast multi-lane RABs with heavy commuting traffic and no traffic lights to break up the flow and stop traffic avoidindance might be the best policy. Find another route if possible.

sorry for the waffle the best thing might be as suggested above a streetview link and advice on the specific RAB concerned.

boliston
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby boliston » 25 Jul 2017, 9:02pm

the thing to remember on roundabouts is that almost ALL danger comes from traffic joining on your left - the key is to take a lane as it holds up traffic behind you which actually acts as a protective buffer - avoid at all costs riding on a lane line as this means traffic overtaking fast on both sides. Always better to delay traffic for a few seconds and stay alive!

bogmyrtle
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby bogmyrtle » 26 Jul 2017, 8:16am

Did you find your speed after the incident or were you aware of it at the time of the incident?
If the latter your attention was was not focussed where it needed to be.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

robing
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby robing » 26 Jul 2017, 9:19am

bogmyrtle wrote:Did you find your speed after the incident or were you aware of it at the time of the incident?
If the latter your attention was was not focussed where it needed to be.

Afterwards ;) - I checked my Garmin.

robing
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby robing » 26 Jul 2017, 9:24am

boliston wrote:the thing to remember on roundabouts is that almost ALL danger comes from traffic joining on your left - the key is to take a lane as it holds up traffic behind you which actually acts as a protective buffer - avoid at all costs riding on a lane line as this means traffic overtaking fast on both sides. Always better to delay traffic for a few seconds and stay alive!

That is definitely what happened to me. It was a big roundabout - 4 exits all 2/3 lane roads. I started on the right lane as turning right, but then moved over to the left to take my exit which is where I got swiped by the car from the opposite side. Ultimately, this is a dangerous roundabout and there are alternatives eg the redways which I should have used. But I had a fully loaded touring bike and a train to catch so took the road.

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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby Vorpal » 26 Jul 2017, 9:42am

The advice in Cyclecraft is good, and I do my best to follow it. In addition to the obvious hazards, I watch for other vehicles 'hiding' me. So, I don't follow too closely, or ride next to vehicles that I can't see over, if I can avoid it. When I do have to do that (i.e. someone drives alongside me on a roundabout) I assume that there are cars waiting to pull out whose drivers cannot see me, and whom I cannot see.

I have had near misses under those circumstances, and they have made me cautious.

A couple of things about speed....

I tend to slow down enough that I am certain (have time to look everywhere two or three times) about circumstances on the roundabout before I enter it. Once I am on it, I tend to accelerate as quickly as I can. However, I also give consideration to the fact the driver's *expect* cyclists to be going between 5 and 8 mph. If I cross a junction at 18 mph, it will be because I am reasonably certain that there is no other traffic, or that I can take evading action if necessary. I generally assume that drivers are incapable of judging my speed correctly. Most can, of course, but it's the ones who don't that cause me problems. :roll:

I cross one roundabout on a long downhill section on my commute. I would often be able to cross that junction at 35 or 40 mph, but I don't. I slow as I approach it, and if there is any traffic, I slow right down. If there isn't any traffic, I cross it at whatever speed I am going / feel comfortable with and do my best to block traffic overtaking me (the roundabout is an awkward width).
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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meic
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby meic » 26 Jul 2017, 9:53am

Even when negotiating a roundabout correctly as pretty well described by IRC you may still get motorists who are determined to make that overtake on the roundabout and will enter it in the wrong lane so they can get alongside then "cut you up" on the exit. There is one roundabout locally where this is much more of a problem than people pulling out of joining roads.
The roundabout next to it, is the opposite, people will nearly always pull out in front of you as it is a very limited view and a cyclist just isnt considered important enough to make a sharp stop for.
Yma o Hyd

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pjclinch
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby pjclinch » 26 Jul 2017, 10:07am

irc wrote:It depends on the roundabout.


This, very much so.

Having said that, when teaching adults to deal with traffic who enquire about "how do I do roundabouts?" my start gambit is usually asking how they'd do them in their car, and it turns out it's typically much the same on a bike with the caveat that a car takes the lane with no real effort, being more lane-sized, so more focus on positioning is required.

As others have noted, look in Cyclecraft for more detail.

Really not happy? get off and walk the bike.

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Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

mercalia
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Re: The safest way to cross a roundabout?

Postby mercalia » 26 Jul 2017, 10:56am

boliston wrote:the thing to remember on roundabouts is that almost ALL danger comes from traffic joining on your left - the key is to take a lane as it holds up traffic behind you which actually acts as a protective buffer - avoid at all costs riding on a lane line as this means traffic overtaking fast on both sides. Always better to delay traffic for a few seconds and stay alive!


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