Roundabouts - how to take them?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Fm, Jul 15, 2003.

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  1. Fm

    Fm Guest

    Hello all

    Being an inexperienced cyclist I looked to the trusty old highway code for guidelines on dealing
    with roundabouts when cycling. How silly of me. It basically said "you can stick to the left all the
    way around, hoping that nobody flattens you as you cross their exit OR you can approach it as any
    other vehicle would - the choice is yours". Thus I'm looking to gauge the general concensus on which
    of these is the safest method, especially as I tried the "stick to the left" method last time I was
    out and was of course very nearly flattened (didn't feel very safe at all). Cheers for any input.

    'smee
     
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  2. Chris French

    Chris French Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, FM <[email protected]> writes
    >
    >Being an inexperienced cyclist I looked to the trusty old highway code for guidelines on dealing
    >with roundabouts when cycling.

    > Thus I'm looking to gauge the general concensus on which of these is the safest method,

    I would say try to take them as you would in a car as much as possible.

    As you've found out, by sticking to the left people coming on to the roundabout tends to assume you
    are going to exit at the next exit and cur across you. If you can't or don't want to get much speed
    up then you may have no option but to stay to the left though.

    On big roundabouts though it can be a little hairy at times, you need to try and get up to a decent
    speed so as to keep you speed similar to the cars as much as possible. Be confident, assertive and
    clear about your position and intentions. Generally, I find that as long as I get in the right
    position at the right time I don't really have problems with the vehicles on the RB it's the ones
    coming on to the RB that pose the most risk.

    John Franklin's book Cyclecraft has lots of good advice on this sort of things and plenty of other
    good stuff.

    --
    Chris French, Leeds
     
  3. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On Wed, 16 Jul 2003 01:06:09 +0100 someone who may be "FM" <[email protected]> wrote this:-

    >Being an inexperienced cyclist I looked to the trusty old highway code for guidelines on dealing
    >with roundabouts when cycling. How silly of me.

    It's written by the road "safety" lobby, in other words the motoring lobby. As Chris recommended,
    get hold of a copy of "Cyclecraft". This outlines the best road positioning in various situations
    and why it is best.

    The way to deal with roundabouts is to behave just like any other road user. Stick to the middle of
    an appropriate lane, do not try and get out of the way of car drivers. This does mean being
    assertive, but remember that you have every right to use the roads.

    If you cause any slight delays to motorists by doing so remember that:

    1) you are not required to make your life less safe to make others' lives slightly more convenient

    2) any delays caused to others while you exercise your right to use the roads were caused by the
    prat who designed the roundabout

    3) roundabouts are dangerous for cyclists and any organisation that cares about cyclists would be
    removing them

    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E I will always explain revoked
    keys, unless the UK government prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
     
  4. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "David Hansen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > 3) roundabouts are dangerous for cyclists and any organisation that cares about cyclists would be
    > removing them

    They're not always a barrel of fun when driving a car. Unfortunately the road safety *Experts* have
    decreed that they are safer than other junction types as when vehicles collide they do so more in a
    converging manner than a T-bone type collision . Surely the point is missed that they shouldn't be
    colliding?

    To add to the other advice mine is to signal clearly once on the roundabout, especially if you're
    not taking the first exit.

    Pete
     
  5. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "FM" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Hello all
    >
    > Being an inexperienced cyclist I looked to the trusty old highway code for guidelines on dealing
    > with roundabouts when cycling. How silly of me. It basically said "you can stick to the left all
    > the way around, hoping that nobody flattens you as you cross their exit OR you can approach it
    > as any other vehicle would - the choice is yours". Thus I'm looking to gauge the general
    > concensus on which of these is the safest method, especially as I tried the "stick to the left"
    > method last time I was out and was of course very nearly flattened (didn't feel very safe at
    > all). Cheers for any
    input.

    Take small to medium sized ones as you would in a car -- take the lane, be visible and behave as if
    you own the joint.

    Really big ones -- where cars can be doing nightmare speeds -- can be difficult, but they are
    more likely to have glass strewn, yob infested underpasses for the really foolhardy. Its a matter
    of confidence and prudence. If in doubt -- you only get one life -- cowardice is sometimes the
    best course.

    T
     
  6. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    "FM" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    [how to take roundabouts]

    What the others said: adopt the "primary riding position" as per Cyclecraft (for roundabouts this
    means approximately in line with where you would be sitting if you were in the driving seat of a
    car). Ride assertively but make sure you keep your wits about you - remember that 50% of fatal
    accidents involving cyclists on roundabouts are due to drivers failing to yield to a cyclist who is
    already circulating, so keep a close eye on the front cars at each entry to the roundabout and be
    prepared to shout loudly and / or bail out. Do not be tempted to hug the outer edge of the
    roundabout, and above all keep your line wherever possible (especially when there are no lane
    markings on the roundabout itself).

    One good technique is to make eye contact with the driver of a following vehicle who is indicating
    to go the same way. Make sure (s)he looks friendly - you don't want them crawling up your back wheel
    - and then take the roundabout in front of them, making use of the fact that while bikes are
    invisible cars generally aren't.

    Non-standard roundabout signals (i.e. pointing directly at the exit you are going to take) also work
    surprisingly well.

    I used to negotiate this roundabout
    <http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=514410&y=205075&z=3&sv=514500,20550
    &st=4&ar=Y&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf> every day on the way to work, including before the
    M25 opened when it was one of the busiest bits of road in the country. I had one near-fatal crash,
    and that was when there was almost nobody else there apart from me and Mrs Clueless (who failed to
    yield to an already-circulating cyclist, in the usual way). Mostly, riding confidently and looking
    as if you know what you are doing is sufficient.

    --
    Guy
    ===

    WARNING: may contain traces of irony. Contents may settle after posting.
    http://www.chapmancentral.com [currently out of service, will be back within 14 days, 5 days, 10
    days, 2 days or one month depending on who you believe at BT]
     
  7. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    "David Brown :eek:)" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > I expected to see the 'Magic Roundabout' at Hemel when I clicked that link

    I've always found that quite straightforward - the cagers are sufficiantly confused that they seem
    to take it slowly :)

    --
    Guy
    ===

    WARNING: may contain traces of irony. Contents may settle after posting.
    http://www.chapmancentral.com
     
  8. Tim Woodall

    Tim Woodall Guest

    On Wed, 16 Jul 2003 11:52:10 +0100, David Brown :eek:) <[email protected]> wrote:
    > I expected to see the 'Magic Roundabout' at Hemel when I clicked that link
    > http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=505200&Y=206160&A=Y&Z=1
    >
    > http://www.pdv-systeme.de/users/martinv/pgg/02R/02R064.html

    I've only cycled the "Magic Roundabout" a few times but I've never found it that much of a problem.
    Provided you know where you are going and are assertive about it then you can generally keep the
    cars behind you under control (and so only have to worry about the cars pulling out into you)

    OTOH, if you aren't sure where you are going then I would suggest you decide which exit to take at
    approach and then don't vary from that even if you realise part way around that it isn't the right
    exit. Just do a U turn once you are off the roundabout and try again.

    Regards,

    Tim.

    --
    God said, "div D = rho, div B = 0, curl E = - @B/@t, curl H = J + @D/@t," and there was light.

    http://tjw.hn.org/ http://www.locofungus.btinternet.co.uk/
     
  9. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    >
    > I've always found that quite straightforward - the cagers are sufficiantly confused that they seem
    > to take it slowly :)

    Anyone who knows it is a such a massive advantage that you can whistle round
    it.
     
  10. "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > "FM" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > [how to take roundabouts]
    >
    > What the others said: adopt the "primary riding position" as per Cyclecraft (for roundabouts
    > this means approximately in line with where you would be sitting if you were in the driving seat
    > of a car).

    Agree with this, except- I have a large/medium roundabout (the sort with 3 lane entries and two lane
    exits at all four directions) to negotiate on my way home every night, where I turn right. Here I
    find that rather than ride where the driver would be, it is better to stay just far enough away from
    the central island on my right to prevent a car from slipping through on my right, but staying far
    enough left in my lane to discourage undertaking.

    To the OP. A little turn of speed will help a lot. Except in the case of very large roundabouts it
    is pretty easy to sustain a speed more or less equal to that of the traffic using the roundabout for
    the short duration of the manouver. If you can see the traffic on the rounabout as you arrive it is
    usefull to try and time your arrival and entry for optimum speed.

    As others have said, watch the entry lanes and be assertive. He who hesitates gets pulled out on.
    But know what you are going to do when
    Mr/s Bonehead pulls out. Being in the right doesn't make it hurt less.

    Bloke on a bike (The Biker at the gates of dawn)
     
  11. Fm

    Fm Guest

    Thanks very much for all the helpful replies. I'll get me a copy of cyclecraft immediately.

    'smee!

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "FM" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > [how to take roundabouts]
    >
    > What the others said: adopt the "primary riding position" as per
    Cyclecraft
    > (for roundabouts this means approximately in line with where you would be sitting if you were in
    > the driving seat of a car). Ride assertively but make sure you keep your wits about you - remember
    > that 50% of fatal accidents involving cyclists on roundabouts are due to drivers failing to yield
    > to a cyclist who is already circulating, so keep a close eye on the front cars at each entry to
    > the roundabout and be prepared to shout loudly and / or bail out. Do not be tempted to hug the
    > outer edge of the roundabout, and above all keep your line wherever possible (especially
    when
    > there are no lane markings on the roundabout itself).
    >
    > One good technique is to make eye contact with the driver of a following vehicle who is indicating
    > to go the same way. Make sure (s)he looks friendly - you don't want them crawling up your back
    > wheel - and then take the roundabout in front of them, making use of the fact that while bikes
    are
    > invisible cars generally aren't.
    >
    > Non-standard roundabout signals (i.e. pointing directly at the exit you
    are
    > going to take) also work surprisingly well.
    >
    > I used to negotiate this roundabout
    >
    <http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=514410&y=205075&z=3&sv=514500,20550
    > &st=4&ar=Y&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf> every day on the way to work, including before
    > the M25 opened when it was one of the busiest bits
    of
    > road in the country. I had one near-fatal crash, and that was when there was almost nobody else
    > there apart from me and Mrs Clueless (who failed to yield to an already-circulating cyclist, in
    > the usual way). Mostly,
    riding
    > confidently and looking as if you know what you are doing is sufficient.
    >
    > --
    > Guy
    > ===
    >
    > WARNING: may contain traces of irony. Contents may settle after posting.
    > http://www.chapmancentral.com [currently out of service, will be back within 14 days, 5 days, 10
    > days, 2 days or one month depending on who you believe at BT]
     
  12. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Tim Woodall" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > OTOH, if you aren't sure where you are going then I would suggest you decide which exit to take at
    > approach and then don't vary from that even
    if
    > you realise part way around that it isn't the right exit. Just do a U turn once you are off the
    > roundabout and try again.
     
  13. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Tim Woodall" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > OTOH, if you aren't sure where you are going then I would suggest you decide which exit to take at
    > approach and then don't vary from that even
    if
    > you realise part way around that it isn't the right exit. Just do a U turn once you are off the
    > roundabout and try again.

    If only some of my fellow cagers would heed this advice. Instead some of them, once they realise
    they're in the wrong lane, just change lane without regard to anyone else, the Fosse Park
    (Leicester) ballsup, sorry roundabout, is a classic. Bad enough when I'm in my car, doesn't bear
    thinking about as a cyclist.

    Pete
     
  14. Pete Barrett

    Pete Barrett Guest

    On Wed, 16 Jul 2003 01:06:09 +0100, "FM" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Hello all
    >
    >Being an inexperienced cyclist I looked to the trusty old highway code for guidelines on dealing
    >with roundabouts when cycling. How silly of me. It basically said "you can stick to the left all
    >the way around, hoping that nobody flattens you as you cross their exit OR you can approach it as
    >any other vehicle would - the choice is yours". Thus I'm looking to gauge the general concensus on
    >which of these is the safest method, especially as I tried the "stick to the left" method last
    >time I was out and was of course very nearly flattened (didn't feel very safe at all). Cheers for
    >any input.
    >
    The very *safest* way to negotiate a roundabout is to get off, walk to the crossing/underpass/bridge
    (there will usually be something like this for pedestrians in urban areas), and use that.
    Roundabouts in rural areas usually have less traffic, in my experience, so it's possible to wait for
    an opportunity and cross (if necessary by instalments) on foot.

    But I don't always do that, and when I cycle round one I do what everyone else has said - take it
    as if I was a car. The main danger is the motroist going too fast round the roundabout - not much
    you can do about that. The main nuisance is the motorist who won't wait behind a bike in the
    centre lane, but takes the inside lane when he's leaving on the second exit - that can be quite
    nasty, because it prevents you from crossing over onto the correct lane on the roundabout to exit
    it properly.

    Pete Barrett
     
  15. I actually like UK roundabouts, esp. the larger ones! I just engage warp speed and stay a bit left
    of where I would be in a car. Only been cut of once, by a tanker truck (law of gross tonnage, I
    guess...). I do have a lowracer, so I'm usually going (nearly) at fast as the cars. I used the same
    strategy on a mini roundabout (more a glorified crossing) once, and almost got flattened by a van
    hurtling straight across, so now I'm a bit more carefull when aproaching the smaller ones! Having a
    mirror and reallly good brakes is essential in these circumstances, I believe.

    Mark van Gorkom.

    P.S.: over here, roundabouts usually have a seperate cycle lane going round the outside; slower and
    less safe IMHO.
     
  16. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On Wed, 16 Jul 2003 07:42:42 +0000 (UTC) someone who may be "Peter B" <[email protected]>
    wrote this:-

    >> 3) roundabouts are dangerous for cyclists and any organisation that cares about cyclists would be
    >> removing them
    >
    >They're not always a barrel of fun when driving a car.

    But then one is surrounded by at least some metal.

    >Unfortunately the road safety *Experts* have decreed that they are safer than other junction types

    I think it's more to do with the fantasies of road builders. Roundabouts work well when there is a
    low volume of traffic, it enters from all the entrances reasonably equally and all vehicles have
    similar performance. None of these tend to be the case in practice.

    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E I will always explain revoked
    keys, unless the UK government prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
     
  17. Michael Kent

    Michael Kent Guest

    FM wrote:
    > Hello all
    >
    > Being an inexperienced cyclist I looked to the trusty old highway code for guidelines on dealing
    > with roundabouts when cycling. How silly of me. It basically said "you can stick to the left all
    > the way around, hoping that nobody flattens you as you cross their exit OR you can approach it as
    > any other vehicle would - the choice is yours". Thus I'm looking to gauge the general concensus on
    > which of these is the safest method, especially as I tried the "stick to the left" method last
    > time I was out and was of course very nearly flattened (didn't feel very safe at all). Cheers for
    > any input.
    >
    > 'smee

    I found this page very useful in an argument with another car driver the other day
    http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/17.shtml#160

    All about roundabouts

    Cheers Michael

    --
    Michael Kent

    There are only 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary,... and those that
    don't Remove Shaggy's best friend to reply
     
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