Home
We're taking inspiration from Oxford and calling it the hamburger...

The Spanish city of Benidorm has introduced an unusual roundabout as part of its aim to grow the share of cycling as a means of everyday transport – but the design suggests it’s one that doesn’t take account of how people actually use bicycles for everyday journeys, and is also likely to put them into conflict with motor vehicles.

A picture of the roundabout being constructed was posted to Twitter earlier this month by Trek Segafredo soigneur Josue Aran Garcia. Recently, the local council announced that it plans to introduce a further 5 kilometres of cycleways within the first three months of the year, bringing the total to 35 kilometres.

As you can see from the image, the cycleway itself is placed between the two lanes carrying motorised traffic in opposing directions.

But it’s the roundabout itself that draws the eye, with the red track continuing straight through it and road markings suggesting that drivers of cars and other vehicles are expected to yield to people on bikes.

Among replies to the post on Twitter attracted was this one from Urban Cycling Living, the account of Dutch urban trend watcher, futurist and designer Stefan Oudijk, pointing out how things are done in his country.

The Netherlands is of course alongside Denmark the country most often cited as best-in-class for cycling infrastructure, and the approach taken to roundabouts there is for cyclists to have a separated lane going around the outside.

As with the example from Benidorm, motorists are expected to give way to cyclists, but the tiny modal share of cycling in the Spanish resort – still just 1 per cent, despite the council’s efforts – will likely mean drivers being far less aware of those on bikes in the first place.

Moreover, Dutch design places cycleways on the outside of the main carriageway, which both engineers out conflict as well as acknowledging that people using a bicycle for an everyday journey won’t be looking to ride the length of a main road, but will be looking to turn off it to access places such as shops, homes and schools.

To anyone familiar with Oxford, the roundabout’s design is immediately reminiscent of Headington’s ‘hamburger’ roundabout (perhaps not by coincidence located by a branch of McDonald’s) – although there, the carriageway cutting through the centre it is primarily used by motor vehicles heading to and from the junction with the M40 to the east of the city.

As we reported yesterday, a planned 'Dutch-stytle' roundabout in Norwich has been criticised by cycling campaigners who have pointed out that the design isn't the type of cyclist-friendly one you'd find in the Netherlands.

> Norwich's Dutch-style roundabout not Dutch, say campaigners

What do you think?

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

15 comments

Avatar
don simon [787 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

I defence of the design, while to us it looks terrible and likely to put the cyclist into conflict with the cyclist, to the  Spanish it won't be too shocking. Traditionally you would see Give Way lines in the middle of a roundabout. So, don't be surprised if the car in front suddenly stops to allow another car to enter the roundabout.

Differnet folks, different strokes.

Avatar
CygnusX1 [235 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

It seems to have confused the driver of the blue truck that appears to be turning off the roundabout onto the red cycle lane

Avatar
don simon [787 posts] 8 months ago
3 likes
CygnusX1 wrote:

It seems to have confused the driver of the blue truck that appears to be turning off the roundabout onto the red cycle lane

British driver? smiley

Avatar
Simon_MacMichael [2457 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Fair point, although given that Benidorm's a major tourist destination and thinking about the Giant-Alpecin crash last weekend near Alicante caused by a British driver, it's not just Spanish motorists we should be concerned about.

Avatar
ososxe [58 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
don simon wrote:

I defence of the design, while to us it looks terrible and likely to put the cyclist into conflict with the cyclist, to the  Spanish it won't be too shocking. Traditionally you would see Give Way lines in the middle of a roundabout. So, don't be surprised if the car in front suddenly stops to allow another car to enter the roundabout.

Differnet folks, different strokes.

 

Spanish guy here... never seen any roundabout (and we have them everywhere) where drivers in the roundabout had to yield to cars that enter it, had my driving license in '93 and roundabouts where already as they are now in terms of preference.

 

Avatar
bikebot [2014 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

It's not clear from the picture, but are those traffic lights in the roundabout that will stop the traffic?  It seems dangerous to expect drivers to yield on a roundabout, as that changes an existing learned behaviour, but there are lots of examples of roundabouts that do use crossings like that with signals.

Example, this is the Tolworth "greenlink" built a few years ago across the A3.  It seems to work OK (excluding the faddish shared space elements of the project in Tolworth itself).

//i.imgur.com/1O8ePNl.jpg)

Avatar
don simon [787 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
Quote:

Spanish guy here... never seen any roundabout (and we have them everywhere) where drivers in the roundabout had to yield to cars that enter it, had my driving license in '93 and roundabouts where already as they are now in terms of preference.

There's one just round the corner from Tele5 in Madrid that I know of, I'll see if I can get a Google maps image, and i know I've driven through plenty more of the same design.

EDIT: Hope this works https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/40%C2%B030'34.0%22N+3%C2%B041'06.7%22W/@40.509448,-3.6857522,138m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

 

Here's another one about 5 mins walk away. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir//40.5111926,-3.6889541/@40.5105216,-3.6898839,553m/data=!3m1!1e3

Avatar
kenyond [86 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

I think it will work, theres a road round a bout near me that has lights on it and a road running through the middle and it works well for traffic. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Coldra+Roundabout,+Newport+NP18+2NX/@51.6017881,-2.924677,506m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x4871e63398bd3ff3:0x1b108562c6e0fb21

Hope link works..

If the round a bout runs on a traffic light system which to looks like it does i think it will work well, only issue is if you want the exit not covered by the lane, maybe they should put a mini cyclist round a bout in the middle of the main one....

Avatar
earth [305 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

The fundemental problem with roadabouts is that you have two very different vehicle types occupying the same 2 dimensional plane.  No matter which way you do it one type crosses the path of the other and the accidents occur.  The design needs to move to 3 dimensions so that you can seperate the 2 vehicle types.  One of the two types needs to be raised above the other so that they do not occupy the same plane and do not cross paths.  Problem is only cost.

Avatar
bikebot [2014 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
earth wrote:

The fundemental problem with roadabouts is that you have two very different vehicle types occupying the same 2 dimensional plane.  No matter which way you do it one type crosses the path of the other and the accidents occur.  The design needs to move to 3 dimensions so that you can seperate the 2 vehicle types.  One of the two types needs to be raised above the other so that they do not occupy the same plane and do not cross paths.  Problem is only cost.

See how long you can watch this for without a collision happening.

https://www.youtube.com/c/ArchieNlEUWS-CRM/live

 

Avatar
ragtag [218 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

No cyclists want to take the turning then?

Avatar
ososxe [58 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
don simon wrote:

There's one just round the corner from Tele5 in Madrid that I know of, I'll see if I can get a Google maps image, and i know I've driven through plenty more of the same design.

EDIT: Hope this works https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/40%C2%B030'34.0%22N+3%C2%B041'06.7%22W/@40.509448,-3.6857522,138m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

 

Here's another one about 5 mins walk away. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir//40.5111926,-3.6889541/@40.5105216,-3.6898839,553m/data=!3m1!1e3

You are absolutely right, and I've drove there hundreds of times when I worked in that area, and never realized the yield sings... My apologies if my previous post sounded rude.
Still, that benidorm cycle path looks like a certified POS to me.

Avatar
don simon [787 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
ososxe wrote:
don simon wrote:

There's one just round the corner from Tele5 in Madrid that I know of, I'll see if I can get a Google maps image, and i know I've driven through plenty more of the same design.

EDIT: Hope this works https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/40%C2%B030'34.0%22N+3%C2%B041'06.7%22W/@40.509448,-3.6857522,138m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

 

Here's another one about 5 mins walk away. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir//40.5111926,-3.6889541/@40.5105216,-3.6898839,553m/data=!3m1!1e3

You are absolutely right, and I've drove there hundreds of times when I worked in that area, and never realized the yield sings... My apologies if my previous post sounded rude. Still, that benidorm cycle path looks like a certified POS to me.

Not to worry, I didn't see any rudeness. I just remember the shock of the first time I drove around one and had to stop!

I was just trying to point out that other countries have different systems and this in itself doesn't make it wrong, as some comments suggest. The designer may have designed many roundabouts with on-roundabout yielding as being the correct form. Giant Alpecin is a case where it's imperative to remember that things are done differently in the UK and we can't arbitarily apply our rules on other countries.

I also agree that this roundabout is gopping, but I can see how it may have come about and how it could be seen as a good idea. yes

Avatar
vanmildert [50 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

As someone else said its about the attitude of the people- having just spent a week cycling in Spain the difference between the drivers there and in the UK is staggering:  In the UK....very aggressive, pushing constantly from behind, passing when they could have waited, never giving way, using their horn as a way of saying F@@k off - in Spain largely the opposite. 

This roundabout will work because drivers in Spain have a respect for cyclists and pedestrians which we sadly don't have in this country. There is far too much debate about infrastructure of cycling and not enough about doing something to change behaviours.  2 

Avatar
Edgeley [377 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

If the bulk of both cyclist and motor traffic is straight-on, with only minor entry and exit from the side-road, AND motorists give way to cyclists, then that will work.

 

In the UK it would be a disaster.

In Spain, it might just be ok.