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Roundabout encourages drivers to select exit before entering - and stick to it

Work will begin on the UK’s first Dutch-style roundabout in Bedford, fitted out with segregated vehicle lanes to keep cyclists safe.

The lanes of traffic will have plastic separators, which will encourage traffic to stay in the appropriate lane, and encourage vehicles to slow down to do so.

Although cars will be able to cross lanes, they will get a ‘bumping’ sensation reminding them to reduce their speed.

The effect of this style of roundabout is to force motorists to choose their final exit before entering the junction. By reducing weaving around, and increasing the predictability of the final destination, there are only ten points of conflict (compared with 8 for a conventional single lane roundabout, or between 32 and 64 with traffic signal control), making this design safer.

Patrick Lingwood, Bedford’s walking and cycling officer, told Transport Xtra that the Motorcycle Action Group and others in the national motorcycling lobby had objected to the DfT about the proposal, arguing that bikers may not see the lane dividers and hit them, or hit them when taking action to avoid a collision.

The upgrading of the roundabout will cost £490,000, which is largely funded by a £420,000 grant from the DfT’s Cycle Safety Fund. Bedford says the roundabout had the highest concentration of cyclist accidents in the borough between 2004 and 2010. 

A 2012 traffic count recorded 25,000 vehicle movements through the roundabout in a 12-hour period (7am-7pm) plus 550 cyclists and 2,500 pedestrians. About 200 of the cyclists avoided the roundabout carriageway by cycling on the footpath round the edge. 

Mr Lingwood said he hoped traffic speeds would be reduced, encouraging cyclists to come back onto the road. He said: “Even though you will be sharing the lane with vehicles I’m hoping that as a cyclist you will feel this is a safe roundabout and a comfortable experience because traffic is moving more slowly.”

The lanes are said to be wide enough for a car, but not a lorry, to overtake a cyclist who is cycling close to the kerb or  plastic lane divider. 

The use of these roundabouts in the UK has seemed likely for some time.

As we reported last year, a delegation of Scottish transport chiefs visited the Netherlands to learn more about the junctions.

However some other styles of Dutch roundabouts feature segregated cycle lanes around the outside, making them much more cycle-friendly, particularly important as two-thirds of bike collisions happen at junctions.

Transport for London spent some time last year investigating the possibility of introducing Dutch roundabouts to the capital, including testing them at the Transport Research Laboratory in Berkshire, but any plans to implement them have since gone quiet.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

59 comments

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anarchy [100 posts] 2 years ago
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Half a million quid for a roundabout!

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rich22222 [166 posts] 2 years ago
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"The lanes are said to be wide enough for a car, but not a lorry, to overtake a cyclist who is cycling close to the kerb or plastic lane divider."
- Because waiting until the roundabout is cleared to overtake would be far to much of a waste of important car driving people's valuable time.

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Big Softy [24 posts] 2 years ago
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anarchy wrote:

Half a million quid for a roundabout!

So what's your point? Your life isn't worth half a million?

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WolfieSmith [1335 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks good. Motorists don't tend to respect each other in roundabouts - let alone cyclists. The American's 4 way stop signs always amaze me. Can you imagine a system based on manners working here? There would just be four cars crashed in the centre with the drivers fighting each other..  37

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ThatBritishBloke [21 posts] 2 years ago
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American 4-Ways? They don't work here in the US either ...

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goggy [153 posts] 2 years ago
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Re the 4-way stops. They have them in South Africa too ... they generally work, but (surprise, surprise) taxis just all tear through them one behind the other and don't stop. And as for cycling in South Africa ... well ... be more worried about being hit from behind and the driver not stopping, or your bike getting stolen from under you as you lie on the road.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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Damn that is expensive!!!  13

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Argos74 [421 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

The lanes are said to be wide enough for a car, but not a lorry, to overtake a cyclist who is cycling close to the kerb or plastic lane divider.

//i.imgur.com/XTL9whE.gif)

Not if I'm taking the lane there bloody isn't. Car driver looking right to see if okay to enter roundabout, bicycle at front nearside corner of car. Why might that not turn out well?

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kie7077 [893 posts] 2 years ago
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"The lanes are said to be wide enough for a car, but not a lorry, to overtake a cyclist who is cycling close to the kerb or plastic lane divider. "

FFS, what they mean is the car could do some shitty pass if the cyclists is cycling in the gutter and not attempting to cycle around potholes etc.

This sounds pretty awful to me, problem being the larger vehicles might also attempt the overtake whilst still being mostly in the same lane - causing a danger on both sides of the overtaking vehicle.

If you're approaching a roundabout, the norm is to ride in primary.

I sometimes have to deal with entrances to bike lanes on side roads which seem to think I can turn within the width of a bike wheel, this brings up the question - can I cycle this infrastructure at 10-20mph, or do I have to cycle like some 3 year old on a tricycle?

Example bad bike lane entrance:
http://goo.gl/maps/NVmMu

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sporran [42 posts] 2 years ago
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Presumably the expense is because it's a new idea in this country, I doubt they would cost that much if there was a widespread roll-out.

I think this is a really good idea. There's a big roundabout where I live, where car drivers keep using the wrong lane so that they can jump in front of the queueing traffic for one particular exit, then they swap over halfway round the roundabout. It's bad enough in the car but could easily be fatal on a bike (either pedal or engine-powered).

Sending police patrol cars up there would be one solution, but if not then these roundabouts are probably the next best thing.

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kie7077 [893 posts] 2 years ago
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The lanes are said to be wide enough for a car, but not a lorry, to overtake a cyclist who is cycling close to the kerb or plastic lane divider.

 14

Said by who? (this is not a rhetorical question).

And why would someone be cycling next to a plastic lane divider?  14 102

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dp24 [201 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

Although cars will be able to cross lanes, they will get a ‘bumping’ sensation reminding them to reduce their speed

Oh yes, i'm sure that's going to work perfectly with the British driving public.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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*Takes a seat nearby this new roundabout and grabs some popcorn*

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Paul J [908 posts] 2 years ago
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So, what's described in the article doesn't sound like what it shown in the photo, but rather a turbo-roundabout:

However, not quite the dutch turbo-roundabout, but a watered down version, with bumps that can still be driven over rather than the hard, raised kerbs of the dutch versions.

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CarlosFerreiro [112 posts] 2 years ago
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With the Dutch only using turbo roundabouts in conjunction with an entirely separate walking/cycling route because of known problems......

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Paul_C [485 posts] 2 years ago
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so are vehicles exiting the roundabout going to have to give way to cyclists crossing the exits? Becayuse until that is so, it is NOT a Dutch style roundabout...

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Paul J [908 posts] 2 years ago
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Well, I don't think the dutch generally would have cyclists taking a turbo-roundabout. Turbos are meant to allow motorists to get through roundabouts faster, by reducing conflicts. Cyclists would have a separate cycle track usually. If the dutch had cyclists mixing with traffic on a roundabout, it would usually require the roundabout to be single-lane, in a 30 km/h zone.

(I say 'generally', because no doubt there are exceptions - but then those exceptions are usually in low-traffic areas, e.g. because there are better routes for both cars and cyclists, or because it's a low-traffic, rural area).

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pwake [395 posts] 2 years ago
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ThatBritishBloke wrote:

American 4-Ways? They don't work here in the US either ...

They're generally pretty good, but, like every other system, there's always a minority who abuse them and blow straight through them. I just take the attitude that nobody's going to stop and slow down/stop myself. It might add a few seconds onto my journey, but rather that than a ride on the hood of an F150.

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Crankpoet [17 posts] 2 years ago
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......and I hope any out of control motorcycles that have fallen foul of the plastic lane dividers miss the cyclists.

It doesn't look an elegant solution.

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horizontal dropout [284 posts] 2 years ago
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I was one of the guinea pigs for the dutch style roundabout tests at TRL. I think the picture is similar to what we were testing with a separate cycle lane round the outside.

Sarah's comment "other styles of Dutch roundabouts feature segregated cycle lanes around the outside" suggests that the Bedford one isn't the same as what's in the picture.

In the segregrated cycle lane type, yes the motorist exiting has to give way to a cyclist going round, though various different methods and combinations of laning and give way markings were tested at TRL.

Like in this (to me) terrifying video: youtu.be/wEXD0guLQY0

But since this doesn't appear to be the same type of roundabout it's not clear if exiting motorists have to give way.

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anarchy [100 posts] 2 years ago
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Big Softy. My life is worth that, it just seems a lot of money for what it is

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Malaconotus [100 posts] 2 years ago
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This is pretty scandalous. Using a £420K cycle safety grant to build a 'Dutch-style' turbo roundabout. A turbo roundabout is not what is shown in the picture. A turbo roundabout is a high speed solution for motor traffic which is never used by bikes in Holland... http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2012/01/turbo-roundabouts-be-carefu...

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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Paul J wrote:

Well, I don't think the dutch generally would have cyclists taking a turbo-roundabout. Turbos are meant to allow motorists to get through roundabouts faster, by reducing conflicts. Cyclists would have a separate cycle track usually. If the dutch had cyclists mixing with traffic on a roundabout, it would usually require the roundabout to be single-lane, in a 30 km/h zone.

(I say 'generally', because no doubt there are exceptions - but then those exceptions are usually in low-traffic areas, e.g. because there are better routes for both cars and cyclists, or because it's a low-traffic, rural area).

drivers* and cyclists

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oldstrath [703 posts] 2 years ago
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Malaconotus wrote:

This is pretty scandalous. Using a £420K cycle safety grant to build a 'Dutch-style' turbo roundabout. A turbo roundabout is not what is shown in the picture. A turbo roundabout is a high speed solution for motor traffic which is never used by bikes in Holland... http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2012/01/turbo-roundabouts-be-carefu...

Gosh, car driving officials prioritise motor vehicles ahead of people. How odd. Sad, but not surprising.

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antonio [1142 posts] 2 years ago
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'predictability of the final destination,' Hardly what the film buff cyclists want to read!

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racyrich [273 posts] 2 years ago
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Popcorn indeed. Should be interesting with some cyclists opting for the lanes and some sticking to the road. This will irk motorists no end.
Then of course the road-using cyclists should give way to the lane using cyclists crossing their path. That WILL be interesting!

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southseabythesea [150 posts] 2 years ago
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MercuryOne wrote:

Looks good. Motorists don't tend to respect each other in roundabouts - let alone cyclists. The American's 4 way stop signs always amaze me. Can you imagine a system based on manners working here? There would just be four cars crashed in the centre with the drivers fighting each other..  37

Have you ever seen that footage of an American cop pulling his weapon on a motorist who ran a stop sign? They don't take prisoners!  3

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Malaconotus [100 posts] 2 years ago
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There won't be lanes. There will only be the road. If we ever did achieve the nirvana of proper dutch infrastructure and roundabouts like the one in the picture there wouldn't be cyclists on the road in a situation like this. It isn't easier, or faster, so in Holland even the lycra-clad chain gangs are on the beautiful smooth wide tracks.

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oozaveared [947 posts] 2 years ago
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jarredscycling wrote:

Damn that is expensive!!!  13

Is it? Just what is the cost of the civil works including the updated drainage, kerbing, upgraded entry and exits, surfacing, signage, and lighting for a roundabout. That would include the planning, designing etc.

Anyone know? I don't.

I guess it is reasonable to deduce that it is probably more for this one than a standard roundabout. But a standard roundabout upgrade isn't free. So the cost of the extra safety of this one isn't £420k. It is £420k minus the cost of a standard 4way roundabout upgrade.
And we don't know what that costs so it is hard to say that this is expensive.

The real question of whether it is expensive or not is only partly related to the actual additional cost of this over and above the standard roundabout. It is also related to any savings made in casualty reduction. Collisions and casualties are horrendously expensive. If it stops one then that may well outweigh the additional cost of this over the cost of a standard roundabout.

Ipso facto. This could be very good value. Value for money and lifetime cost is the criteria that is important and not initial cost.

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Paul J [908 posts] 2 years ago
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Please note Holland is only a portion of the Netherlands.  3 Yes, there are many Hollanders who will call the country Holland, but that still pisses off some non-Hollanders.  3

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