Prioritising cycling: roundabouts

As the penny slowly drops and the various benefits of cycling begin to be recognised at national government and local authority level, there are simple ways in which cycling can begin to be prioritised in NE Lincs. It’s not rocket science and by progressively improving the cycling infrastructure the message that cycling is being taken seriously will come across and more people will feel it’s safe to cycle.
The crossing at Hewitts Circus on Taylors Ave.

The crossing at Hewitts Circus on Taylors Ave.

Look at roundabouts. This is a photo of Hewitt’s Circus near Tesco’s, on the Humberston Pedalway. The pedalway (actually a shared walkway and cycleway) meets the roundabout with a pair of painted broken lines. What do these mean? Who has right of way? It’s not clear. The usual practise is they are ignored by motorists, and cyclists and pedestrians have to wait for a gap and take their chance to cross. The car has priority and everyone else has to wait.

These are dangerous places for cyclists and pedestrians, as the tragic death of Lynne Dring, who was killed at this very roundabout whilst trying to cross in January this year, so sadly demonstrates. These crossings are examples of bad design and it’s past time they were changed!
Bad design creates unnecessary danger.

Bad design creates unnecessary danger.

My suggestion therefore is this:
  • Make these clearly inadequate painted lines a raised crossing, at the same height as the pedalway that leads to and away from them. This would effectively make it a ‘sleeping policeman’,  a speed hump, forcing the approaching motor traffic to slow down;
  • Give priority to cyclists and pedestrians by making the approaching motor traffic give way on these crossings;
  • Make the speed limit on larger roundabouts 20mph, and on smaller roundabouts such as Hewitts Circus a maximum 15mph.

These simple measures will help to save lives, reduce casulaties and make cycling on the pedalway safer, smoother and quicker. It will also send the message that people walking and cycling (ie. those who are vunerable to being injured or killed when hit by a vehicle) take priority over cars and trucks.

I’ve used Hewitts Circus as the example, but this can be applied to all roundabouts where there is a cycle lane. Toll Bar roundabout between Waltham and New Waltham is another prime example. Have you tried getting across there on your bike? It’s extremely busy and dangerous. Replace the painted broken lines with raised crossings prioritised for cyclists and pedestrians, and slow the traffic. Please. It won’t cost much but it will speak volumes and make a huge difference!

No doubt some will object: “You can’t do that, it will slow the traffic and have cars backing up around the roundabout!” Well, what is so bad about that? Drivers driving more slowly at busy junctions? Sounds like a safer situation to me! I’m sure the delay would be minimal, and as these changes become more widespread and familiar, they would simply be accepted, accommodated, and I believe, appreciated for the benefits they bring!

Update: To see how the world leaders in cycling infrastructure do roundabouts, click here!

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