Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Roundabouts" and Cycling in Britain and Berkeley

Hello, Cycling Magazine Editor Keith Bingham. Are you aware of this website? (http://www.thebikezone.org.uk/thebikezone/campaigning/roundabouts.html) It's an informative discussion about the serious hazards roundabouts cause cyclists in Britain. In Berkeley the anti-car bicycle coalition greenies, along with territorial residentialists, have promoted small (10'-25' wide) traffic circle installations in residential intersections all over town. Over the last 5 years the city has installed 40 hazardous bicycle circles, which, as this discussion points out, cause serious conflict between cyclists and cars. Those Berkeley intersections were much safer for cyclists before the circle installations, including those intersections that had no traffic controls, such as stop or yield signs. But try explaining that logical bicycle safety fact to the anti-car bicycle crusaders who've hijacked and now dominate bicycle planning in the US. Hopefully cyclists will educate themselves about the hazards caused by dubious traffic calming schemes irresponsibly promoted by the anti-car bicycle extremists, such as traffic circles and roundabouts, and actively oppose them in the future.

Regards,
California Bicycle Advocate

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2 Comments:

At 10:08 PM, Blogger Fritz said...

The roundabouts in the UK are nothing at all like most traffic circles in the U.S. The design and the purpose are completely different.

Roundabouts are designed to maximize the amount of traffic that can move through an intersection. Roundabouts feature large angles to maximize the speed that motor vehicles can swish across. These are indeed hazardous for cyclists.

Traffic circles, on the other hand, are traffic calming devices designed to slow traffic. They're much much smaller than the large UK roundabouts; properly design traffic circles force drivers to slow way down.

See this video for an illustration of how cyclists should negotiate traffic circles.

 
At 9:12 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

California Bicycle Advocates respond:

I encourage readers who are knowledgeable cyclists to post on the negative impacts that Berkeley's traffic circles (occupying approximately 75% of the intersection space previously available for defensive use)are having on transportation cyclists, who are now contending with cars for the remaining narrow lane around the circles.

The pro-traffic calming poster Fritz's wrong comment that circles are good because they make cars go slow is one of the major problems with urban residential street circles. Poorly-conceived circles cause erratic, stop-and-go traffic flow, which is challenging for transportation cyclists, who are forced to contend for the remaining narrow lane space around the circle. Ironically, the slow-is-good, anti-car, traffic-calming activists promote this hazardous traffic control design in the name of bicycle safety!

As I said, Berkeley residential
intersections were much safer for cyclists BEFORE the circle
installations, including those intersections that had no traffic
controls, such as stop or yield signs.

 

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