Dealing with large junctions & Cyclecraft



C

Colin

Guest
As posted before, I am on road to getting rid of the car & relying on our
bikes for transport.

To aid this, I am tying to cycle safer, faster and more often. I have read
Cyclecraft by John Franklin and am trying to patch up my techniques where
necessary, though i am still concerned with the problems posed by major
junctions and rush hour riding. I am OK with slower 30mph traffic, i find I
can get up to 20+mph on most roads which gives me the ability to kep up.

However when presented with a large multilane round about connecting dual
carridgeways with a freeflow lane on my exit I feel less safe(no suprises!).
I still am able carry out the manouvre that is necessary quickly & without
causing difficulty to other vehicles, but I do not feel comfortable with it.
There is the option of getting off, crossing the road, and using a shared
pavement/ cycleway to negotiate the junction, but his then leaves me having
to cros the road again further along and is inconveinant.

I am tending towards using the cyclway in this case. Though I dislike the
option, there is no point standing up for cyclist's rights to use the roads
if I am hit a by car on the way to work. Maybe such junctions are the domain
of only very fast riders who can keep up with the trafic speed right the way
through the junction?

I would be interested to hear what other cycle commuters do with large
junctions such as this.

Please assume that avoidance is not a viable option.

Thanks,

Colin
 
Colin wrote on 03/10/2006 12:39 +0100:
>
> I would be interested to hear what other cycle commuters do with large
> junctions such as this.
>
> Please assume that avoidance is not a viable option.
>


Three things. Road position, road position and road position. It's no
use trying to keep up with traffic, you can't compete with a car. What
you need to do is concentrate less on speed and more on road position
and controlling the traffic. That means being to the right of centre of
the lane approaching, quite often being on the right of the lane on the
roundabout to control the traffic to the right from lane changing into
you and choosing lines through the junctions and roundabout that put
you in control of the traffic. Its difficult to give exact advice
without seeing (and riding) the roundabout itself.


--
Tony

"Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using
his intelligence; he is just using his memory."
- Leonardo da Vinci
 
On Tue, 03 Oct 2006, Tony Raven <[email protected]> wrote:
> Colin wrote on 03/10/2006 12:39 +0100:
> >
> > I would be interested to hear what other cycle commuters do with large
> > junctions such as this.
> >
> > Please assume that avoidance is not a viable option.
> >

>
> Three things. Road position, road position and road position. It's no
> use trying to keep up with traffic, you can't compete with a car. What
> you need to do is concentrate less on speed and more on road position
> and controlling the traffic. That means being to the right of centre of
> the lane approaching, quite often being on the right of the lane on the
> roundabout to control the traffic to the right from lane changing into
> you and choosing lines through the junctions and roundabout that put
> you in control of the traffic. Its difficult to give exact advice
> without seeing (and riding) the roundabout itself.


There are roundabouts it's almost impossible to control.

You can generally control on the approach, because there are marked
lanes, so you can place your self to the right of centre and dominate
the lane. (But as an aside - I know one roundabout where you can't
even control the approach in a car, because some traffic decides to
undertake the left-most lane by driving in the solid-line hatched area
to skip the queue waiting to join the roundabout. You can sit in the
left-most lane, then join the roundabout heading for the first exit,
and have some imbecile come screaming up the inside.)

The problem comes when you're on the roundabout. At that point it's a
see of tarmac with a load of lines that no-one pays attention to -
there is no location to adopt that prevents traffic overtaking,
undertaking, and generally flying all over the place.

It's even worse if there's a bypass lane that goes from one approach
to the adjacent exit without giving way to the traffic on the
roundabout. If you're on the roundabout exiting at that exit then you
can have traffic overtaking right and left entirely legally. Worse
still is when there's a hatched region between roundabout and bypass
lane - because then if you're right-of-centre in the outermost lane
heading for the exit, some twonk will overtake outside, by going into
the hatched region.

Some roundabouts are nerve-wracking no matter what you do, and don't
have a solution that feels safe. You just have to decide how
dangerous it really feels, and then either decide that the nervous
keeps you alert and you can ride it, or take the cautiously pragmatic
approach and walk the perimeter. I've done both.

regards, Ian SMith
--
|\ /| no .sig
|o o|
|/ \|
 
Colin wrote:
> However when presented with a large multilane round about connecting
> dual carridgeways with a freeflow lane on my exit I feel less safe(no
> suprises!). I still am able carry out the manouvre that is necessary
> quickly & without causing difficulty to other vehicles, but I do not
> feel comfortable with it. There is the option of getting off,
> crossing the road, and using a shared pavement/ cycleway to negotiate
> the junction, but his then leaves me having to cros the road again
> further along and is inconveinant.
> Please assume that avoidance is not a viable option.


I don't have to deal with these that often, (I'm assuming you're talking
about two dual carriageways crossing at grade) but on the larger roundabouts
I do cross, I find that

a) if it's fairly tight (i.e. traffic circulates at 30mph and accelerates to
40 towards the exits, probably only two lanes on the roundabout),
i) I can claim the lane I need to use (this means riding in the dead
centre of it)
ii) I can easily get to that lane with the same size gap a car needs.
iii) All I need to do is make sure am in the middle of the left hand lane
by the time I get to the entrance before my exit. I try and make sure that
I've looked directly at the drivers of the cars coming on to the roundabout
and keep a weather ear out for anyone who may cut across me from behind.

b) if it's very big (3 or more lanes), I'll claim the left hand lane, and
just before I cross any exit, I go as far right in that lane as I can so
impatient exiting motor traffic will dodge to the left of me.

I find myself relatively confident in these circumstances, but still, it's
not something I relish.

A
 
Tony Raven wrote:

> Colin wrote on 03/10/2006 12:39 +0100:
> >
> > I would be interested to hear what other cycle commuters do with large
> > junctions such as this.
> >
> > Please assume that avoidance is not a viable option.
> >

>
> Three things. Road position, road position and road position. It's no
> use trying to keep up with traffic, you can't compete with a car. What
> you need to do is concentrate less on speed and more on road position
> and controlling the traffic. That means being to the right of centre of
> the lane approaching, quite often being on the right of the lane on the
> roundabout to control the traffic to the right from lane changing into
> you and choosing lines through the junctions and roundabout that put
> you in control of the traffic. Its difficult to give exact advice
> without seeing (and riding) the roundabout itself.


Its more that just road position, although I would place that as number
one.
But displaying a *lot* of confidence is essential too to show others you
know what you are doing. Exagerated looking behind and bold straight arm
signals send an extra message of confidence. Any display of anything that
says "I'm not fully confident" will have drivers taking advantage and
trying to squeeze past.

It is good for a rider to think of a 'car space' around them as they ride
and to 'own' that piece of road as they proceed.

Some roundabouts can be too daunting to even some of the most experienced
of riders but if not confident to tackle them then alternative routes may
be the only option.

John B
 
John B wrote:
> Tony Raven wrote:
>
> > Colin wrote on 03/10/2006 12:39 +0100:
> > >
> > > I would be interested to hear what other cycle commuters do with large
> > > junctions such as this.
> > >
> > > Please assume that avoidance is not a viable option.
> > >

> >
> > Three things. Road position, road position and road position. It's no
> > use trying to keep up with traffic, you can't compete with a car. What
> > you need to do is concentrate less on speed and more on road position
> > and controlling the traffic. That means being to the right of centre of
> > the lane approaching, quite often being on the right of the lane on the
> > roundabout to control the traffic to the right from lane changing into
> > you and choosing lines through the junctions and roundabout that put
> > you in control of the traffic. Its difficult to give exact advice
> > without seeing (and riding) the roundabout itself.

>
> Its more that just road position, although I would place that as number
> one.
> But displaying a *lot* of confidence is essential too to show others you
> know what you are doing. Exagerated looking behind and bold straight arm
> signals send an extra message of confidence. Any display of anything that
> says "I'm not fully confident" will have drivers taking advantage and
> trying to squeeze past.
>
> It is good for a rider to think of a 'car space' around them as they ride
> and to 'own' that piece of road as they proceed.


All road use is a negotiation. By being big and assertive (get up to
speed, sit up and make big, bold signals, especially when changing
lanes) it is entirely possible to navigate most roundabouts happily.

Tell other road users clearly where you want to go by road positioning
and clear signals. Find out where the 'natural' car lanes through the
roundabout are and sit in the middle of them. Be where people are
looking.

...d
 
Following on from Colin's message. . .
>I would be interested to hear what other cycle commuters do with large
>junctions such as this.


For the sake of an email or two ask your local county/borough council
for instructions on how you should deal with the bypass lanes. (I agree-
deadly) You should also ask if they are aware of how dangerous they are
to cyclists.



--
PETER FOX Not the same since the pancake business flopped
[email protected]
www.eminent.demon.co.uk - Lots for cyclists
 
In article <[email protected]>
John B <[email protected]> wrote:
<snip>
> Its more that just road position, although I would place that as number
> one.


Conspicuity - there's no point being in the right position if you blend
into the background. Remember that motorists will often spend more time
looking sideways or backwards than looking ahead when negotiating a
roundabout.

> But displaying a *lot* of confidence is essential too to show others you
> know what you are doing. Exagerated looking behind and bold straight arm
> signals send an extra message of confidence. Any display of anything that
> says "I'm not fully confident" will have drivers taking advantage and
> trying to squeeze past.


Alternatively don't indicate, weave and wobble a bit and you'll get
extra space because they don't know what you're going to do.
>
> It is good for a rider to think of a 'car space' around them as they ride
> and to 'own' that piece of road as they proceed.
>
> Some roundabouts can be too daunting to even some of the most experienced
> of riders but if not confident to tackle them then alternative routes may
> be the only option.
>

There was (probably still is) a roundabout near where I used to live
that I wouldn't have been confident of negotiating safely except at full
sprint, even though it had spiral lane markings to give drivers a clue.
It wouldn't have been so bad if the approach hadn't been uphill.
 
Rob Morley wrote:

> In article <[email protected]>
> John B <[email protected]> wrote:
> <snip>
> > Its more that just road position, although I would place that as number
> > one.

>
> Conspicuity - there's no point being in the right position if you blend
> into the background. Remember that motorists will often spend more time
> looking sideways or backwards than looking ahead when negotiating a
> roundabout.


Even more cause to Look Big.

> Alternatively don't indicate, weave and wobble a bit and you'll get
> extra space because they don't know what you're going to do.


I'm not convinced of this approach where traffic is fast and heavy. It is
likely to antagonise the driver who is already likely to be stressed
themselves and may result in abuse, or aggressively close driving. This can
even further reduce the confidence of the cyclist.

When riders keep to exactly the same rules as other traffic, the likelihood of
conflict is reduced. A confident-looking cyclist is more likely to receive
respect from other road users.

> There was (probably still is) a roundabout near where I used to live
> that I wouldn't have been confident of negotiating safely except at full
> sprint, even though it had spiral lane markings to give drivers a clue.
> It wouldn't have been so bad if the approach hadn't been uphill.


Yep. Those on hills are amongst the worst to deal with.
In such cases it is important to have selected the right gearing for the
roundabout entry, especially if there is the possibility of having to stop.
When stopping it is also advisable to immediately get into a start-off
position with foot at the top, so as to be ready to move as soon as a safe gap
presents itself.

John B
 
"Colin" <[email protected]> wrote

[snip]

> However when presented with a large multilane round about
> connecting dual carridgeways with a freeflow lane on my exit I feel
> less safe(no suprises!). I still am able carry out the manouvre
> that is necessary quickly & without causing difficulty to other
> vehicles, but I do not feel comfortable with it.


[snip]

Well, that's normal when beginning new things. When learning to
swim, its best to work up to the deep end gradually.

Besides "Cyclecraft" there are a couple of other things worth
reading. One, on the web somewhere, is the "theory of BIG", which
presumably google could unearth.

There's another book, American, John Forester's "Effective Cycling"
That's a general purpose bike book, so it's thicker than Cyclecraft,
but it covers the same sort of principles that John Franklin covers.
Because Forester lives in California, it's very good at how to ride
on multi lane roads in among faster traffic Actually Forester
doesn't really talk about roundabouts as such, because California
doesn't have them, but it does talk about related problems, such as
crossing slip roads. Effective Cycling is also geared to driving on
the right, of course.

On the web, and from a state that does have roundabouts, is John
Allen's "Street Smarts". That's good, but I can't remember what it
says about roundabouts - rotaries, they are called in Massachusetts,
where Allen lives. "Street Smarts" has been adopted by several
American states as their official handbook for cyclists. John Allen
also wrote something called "How to ride in Boston traffic, or
anywhere", which used to be, and may still be, on the website of
Massbike, their equivalent of the London Cycling Campaign.

I hope this helps

Jeremy Parker
 
Colin wrote:
>
> However when presented with a large multilane round about connecting dual
> carridgeways with a freeflow lane on my exit I feel less safe(no suprises!).


> Colin


Could you highlight the junction on http://maps.google.co.uk/ for us
please?
 
[Posted and mailed]

In message <[email protected]>
Peter Fox <[email protected]> wrote:

> Following on from Colin's message. . .
> >I would be interested to hear what other cycle commuters do with large
> >junctions such as this.

>
> For the sake of an email or two ask your local county/borough council
> for instructions on how you should deal with the bypass lanes. (I agree-
> deadly)


can be made worse by a low kerb outside the bypass lane !

You should also ask if they are aware of how dangerous they are
> to cyclists.
>
>

I know how sceptical some of this parish are regarding cycle facilities
but if we can't get bypass lanes banned then some way of a cyclist getting
across these roundabouts should be provided.



--
CTC Right to Ride Representative for Richmond upon Thames
 
"LSMike" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Colin wrote:
>>
>> However when presented with a large multilane round about connecting
>> dual
>> carridgeways with a freeflow lane on my exit I feel less safe(no
>> suprises!).

>
>> Colin

>
> Could you highlight the junction on http://maps.google.co.uk/ for us
> please?
>


Hi all, thank you for all your replies.

I think I can tick most of the boxes of your suggestions. It is the scale &
speed of the junction rather than the technique and I imagine it comes with
carefull experiance. I think a way to describe it would be on slower
junctions, traffic enters your own 'radar' and you anticipate the different
things it could do, when you come to fast & large junctions, the radar has
to strech further & scan faster so it becomes more difficult to track evey
vehicle.

Anyways,here is the link,

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&h...2.955722,-1.457534&spn=0.006127,0.026951&om=1

I Approach from Alfreton road to take the 2nd exit where the A38 has a free
flow lane on to Alfreton Road (now the A61)

The roundabout has 3 lanes & part time (rarely) traffic signals.


Cheers,

COlin
 
in message <[email protected]>, Colin
('[email protected]') wrote:

> Anyways,here is the link,
>
>

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&h...2.955722,-1.457534&spn=0.006127,0.026951&om=1
>
> I Approach from Alfreton road to take the 2nd exit where the A38 has a
> free flow lane on to Alfreton Road (now the A61)
>
> The roundabout has 3 lanes & part time (rarely) traffic signals.


OK, that does look nasty. What are the gradients? Is it relatively flat,
and if not do you have the gradient with you or against you?

Apart from what Tony has said (which I thoroughly agree with) there are
other aspects of the theory of BIG which would help. Wear fluorescent
clothing, using large flashing rear lights whenever the visibility is less
than perfect, use front flashers as well as headlights, have plenty of
reflectives. I don't usually bother with that sort of stuff, but on a
roundabout like that I would.

You might think of towing a trailer, even if it was empty. People give you
a /lot/ more road space with a trailer, and empty it wouldn't drag much.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

;; Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they
;; do it from  religious conviction."          -- Pascal
 
in message <[email protected]>, Paul Luton
('[email protected]') wrote:

> [Posted and mailed]
>
> In message <[email protected]>
> Peter Fox <[email protected]>
> wrote:
>
>> Following on from Colin's message. . .
>> >I would be interested to hear what other cycle commuters do with large
>> >junctions such as this.

>>
>> For the sake of an email or two ask your local county/borough council
>> for instructions on how you should deal with the bypass lanes. (I agree-
>> deadly)

>
> can be made worse by a low kerb outside the bypass lane !
>
> You should also ask if they are aware of how dangerous they are
>> to cyclists.
>>
>>

> I know how sceptical some of this parish are regarding cycle facilities
> but if we can't get bypass lanes banned then some way of a cyclist
> getting across these roundabouts should be provided.


Ish.

Underpasses can work well but can also be places to get mugged - it depends
how close you are to places with disaffected youth. Bridges over can work
if the main cycle flow is along one axis only (as at Cuckoo Bridge
roundabout, Dumfries) but are expensive. Either solution is very expensive
to retrofit to an existing roundabout - ideally this needs to be done when
the junction is planned.

But red bike lanes around the perimeter of the roundabout are suicide lanes
and definitely make the problem worse.

--
[email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

;; killing [afghan|iraqi] civilians is not 'justice'
 
Colin wrote:
> "LSMike" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > Colin wrote:
> >>
> >> However when presented with a large multilane round about connecting
> >> dual
> >> carridgeways with a freeflow lane on my exit I feel less safe(no
> >> suprises!).

> >
> >> Colin

> >
> > Could you highlight the junction on http://maps.google.co.uk/ for us
> > please?
> >


> Anyways,here is the link,
>
> http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&h...2.955722,-1.457534&spn=0.006127,0.026951&om=1
>
> I Approach from Alfreton road to take the 2nd exit where the A38 has a free
> flow lane on to Alfreton Road (now the A61)
>
> The roundabout has 3 lanes & part time (rarely) traffic signals.


Liver Local has better satellite imagery for this location (although
the OP isn't obviously visible)

http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=52.956099~-1.459709&style=h&lvl=18

best wishes
james
 
Another thing: If you travel at the same time every day then soon most
of the other users who also travel at the same time every day will be
used to a cycle on 'their' roundabout which will make it easier for them
to deal with.

--
PETER FOX Not the same since the bra business went bust
[email protected]
www.eminent.demon.co.uk - Lots for cyclists
 
IIRC there is a cycle lane at that location designed for that crossing.

Philip

LSMike wrote:
> Colin wrote:
> >
> > However when presented with a large multilane round about connecting dual
> > carridgeways with a freeflow lane on my exit I feel less safe(no suprises!).

>
> > Colin

>
> Could you highlight the junction on http://maps.google.co.uk/ for us
> please?
 

>
> http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&h...2.955722,-1.457534&spn=0.006127,0.026951&om=1
>
> I Approach from Alfreton road to take the 2nd exit where the A38 has a free
> flow lane on to Alfreton Road (now the A61)
>
> The roundabout has 3 lanes & part time (rarely) traffic signals.


I would never ride that roundabout. It is scary enough in a car.
It may look less 007 but it must surely be safer to get over to the off
road cycle track before the garden centre, ride up to cross at the
ped/cycle traffic lights, and take the pavement cycle track south.
If you can get the council to smooth and widen the track that would be
good.And the path south of the roundabout is nowhere near wide enough
to the next junction.
Whether you then continue to the next right and cross the road to
continue over the rail bridge down alfreton road, or get back on the
road before the next roundabout to head down whittle way depends on
where you are going.
I know you have a right to do it and it may take 2 mins longer the
cycle track way but I would not do that roundabout as a regular commute
myself.
I have never seen a cycle club use it either.
i used tohave the same debate with myself approaching the Elephant and
Castle.
Unfortunately the A38 along that stretch is effectively a motorway with
no hard shoulder and no cycle lane either.

It is very irritating to get off the road but in this case it must be
safer.
TerryJ
TerryJ
TerryJ
 
Peter Fox wrote:
> Another thing: If you travel at the same time every day then soon most
> of the other users who also travel at the same time every day will be
> used to a cycle on 'their' roundabout which will make it easier for them
> to deal with.


The biggest problem IMO is having to cope with fast moving traffic in a
left hand merge lane as you come off the roundabout. This traffic will
be accellerating just as you want it to slow down so you can safely
merge across to the LHS.

It is a nasty junction. The best way surely is to be BIG, get a good
speed up and signal clearly and boldly LEFT I WANT TO GO LEFT LET ME IN
YOU &*^*%(($

Hopefully someone would let you in.

The difficulty will depend on the traffic flow. Very heavy traffic will
be slow moving and will allow you to merge, light traffic will
negotiate with you and allow you in. Fast flowing medium heavy traffic
will be somewhat unpleasant.

It is a very cyclist unfriendly road design. It could be improved by
adding a restriction/diversion to prevent car traffic merging from the
left having a clear run, ie a low build out that will eb unpleasant for
a car to drive over, altering the max speed for the corner to 20 mph,
and having a low kerb and hatched area, provides enough space for an
HGV to use to turn.

If cars are reduced to a 'circulating the roundabout' pace at the
bypass then it will be safer for all at the merge.

...d