Off street trials of a Dutch-style roundabout (TRL751)

  • Published: TRL, 2015
  • Authors: Dr I. York, Dr S. Helman & P. Vermaat
  • Date Added: 28 Aug 2016
  • Last Update: 28 Aug 2016
  • Format: pdf

Objectives

To present the safety findings of a series of off-street trials of a Dutch style roundabout with an orbital cycle track. The objective of the trial was to investigate the safety implication of this for cyclists

Methodology

Cyclists and car drivers were required to enter the Dutch style roundabout as an individual in early trials and in later trials in small groups. Interactions between cyclists and car drivers were recorded on video and participants also completed questionnaires on their perceptions and understanding of the roundabout. The roundabout tested had four arms each with a different approach, crossing and exit configuration.

Key Findings:

  • All road user types generally found the roundabout easy to use and considered it to be safe, although some participants expressed concern about not knowing who had priority.

  • Almost all participants thought that the roundabout design would have safety benefits for cyclists, mainly as a result of the segregation. Around half of the participants also thought that pedestrians and drivers would also benefit.

  • Participants mentioned a need for education and information campaigns if this type of roundabout design was introduced on to real roads.

  • Participants reported back that it was not clear of who had priority when exiting the roundabout and re-joining the carriageway. Despite this, most car drivers gave way to cyclists.

  • Most cyclists indicated that they would be likely to use the orbital cycle track rather than the road when in heavy traffic, although confident cyclists were more likely to use the road instead, particularly if turning left or going straight ahead, as this reduced the distance travelled.

  • Some more confident cyclists expressed concern about the narrow width of the cycle lane and high kerbs making overtaking more difficult.

  • Drivers reported finding it difficult to see cyclists on the orbital cycle lane, which raises a potential risk area for large vehicles leaving the roundabout.

  • Car drivers were observed to be far less likely to recognise the priority of cyclists on the orbital cycle track when entering the roundabout than when they were exiting the roundabout, even though UK drivers should be giving way to traffic circulating the roundabout and would not be expecting to give way on the exit of a roundabout.

  • The arm of the roundabout which had a sharp turn at the entry into the orbital cycle track and the arm where cyclists exited directly into the path of exiting cars were rated as the least favourable and least safe by cyclists.

Themes

Roundabout, cycle lane, segregation

Comments

An investigation into an innovative roundabout design in the UK, commonly used in Europe and whether it would be understood in the UK.

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