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Old 8th January 2020, 03:54 AM   #1
Puppycow
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Traffic Science

I found this remarkably interesting video about a new design for a highway interchange. Just wanted to share it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0sM6xVAY-A

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And here's another one about roundabouts:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqcyRxZJCXc

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Clark Griswald and Homer Simpson make an appearance midway through the video.

The subject may seem boring at first glance but really it isn't. Also, a lot of lives could be saved, as well as time and fuel by better designed intersections.
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Old 8th January 2020, 04:15 AM   #2
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Roundabouts are good for the environment, as the traffic is more likely to keep moving.

Can't see YTs at work, but there is this about roundabouts in the US:
https://www.citylab.com/transportati...et-map/408598/

On the subject of keeping traffic moving, always try to keep a large gap between you and the vehicle in front on busy roads:
http://www.amasci.com/amateur/traffic/traffic1.html
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Old 8th January 2020, 04:44 AM   #3
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A lot of the more modern work does seem to indicate that overall the more involved a driver is with their own safety decisions the safer junctions and roads become. So almost counter intuitively removing signag and removing barriers and lights can make a road safer as the driver has to be more aware when traversing the road or junction.

That could account for some of the apparently huge difference in fatalities at road junctions controlled by traffic lights in the USA compared to similar roundabout junctions in countries like France and the UK. If I understand the video correctly there is a 90% reduction in fatalities.

(The video like most of these types of even informative and factual videos makes it hard to understand if the data is being used correctly as you can't check the sources and make a comparison as easily. Yeah I'm old!)
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Old 8th January 2020, 05:30 AM   #4
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Here's another link information format:

Diverging diamond interchange:

https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/safet...esign/ddi.aspx

Modern roundabout:

https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersec...e/roundabouts/

Note that a modern roundabout differs from older traffic circle designs that proved unpopular in the past.
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Old 8th January 2020, 05:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Note that a modern roundabout differs from older traffic circle designs that proved unpopular in the past.
I think this is one of those US-UK differences; what you call a "modern roundabout" seems to be what we call a "roundabout," which have been ubiquitous in the UK for almost as long as I've been alive. What, exactly, is a traffic circle?

Dave
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Old 8th January 2020, 05:45 AM   #6
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There's some interesting research out of the greater Boston area that laying on the horn can help alleviate heavy traffic.
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Old 8th January 2020, 06:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers
Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Note that a modern roundabout differs from older traffic circle designs that proved unpopular in the past.
I think this is one of those US-UK differences; what you call a "modern roundabout" seems to be what we call a "roundabout," which have been ubiquitous in the UK for almost as long as I've been alive. What, exactly, is a traffic circle?

Dave
Form Puppcows link:
Originally Posted by FHWA
Like any new technology or idea, it is necessary that people understand how roundabouts work and why they are needed.
The second half of the 20th century seems to have passed the US by.
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Old 8th January 2020, 06:26 AM   #8
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Roundabouts or traffic circles are rare here in St. Louis, but we do have one in University City just north of where I work. It took folks a little bit to get over being timid about the thing, but now it seems to work quite efficiently.
There’s one over across the river in Illinois, and for many years this was a sort of “test” for young folks learning to drive..... If you could negotiate the thing smoothly you were ready for your license.
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Old 8th January 2020, 07:55 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by wobs View Post
...

On the subject of keeping traffic moving, always try to keep a large gap between you and the vehicle in front on busy roads:
http://www.amasci.com/amateur/traffic/traffic1.html
Perhaps you posted that a long time ago but it's been in my Favorites folder for quite some time. I like to revisit that page every so often. And I've applied the gap theory and it works wonderfully. I even made up a blurb about it -- "Leave a space, and set the pace."

Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I found this remarkably interesting video about a new design for a highway interchange. Just wanted to share it.

(video about divergent diamond interchanges)...
I encountered one of those unexpectedly for the first time on a trip to Missouri. My first reaction was "WTF?" but I just followed the lines, got through it and said, "Huh... That was different..."

Whereas roundabouts are starting to pop up locally but they are still a bit confusing as they are rarely consistent. I'm still not sure of the purpose of an inside lane since no one will ever use it in this "I'll be dipped if I'm ever going to change lanes for someone else" state. One thing our roundabouts must have is a barrier to making a direct left turn because people will insist (due to arrogance or ignorance) on going that way anyway.
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Old 8th January 2020, 08:17 AM   #10
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Swindon's 'Magic' Roundabout - 5 mini roundabouts placed around a central hub.

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Old 8th January 2020, 08:20 AM   #11
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DDIs are interesting to build in Cities Skylines
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Old 8th January 2020, 08:37 AM   #12
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The only real objections I have heard on roundabouts is that they are difficult to navigate for bicycles.

I really like them. I wish we had a roundabout at the intersection to enter our subdivision.
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Old 8th January 2020, 09:00 AM   #13
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I've seen a number of videos about the diverging diamond interchange.

Looks like great idea .. hopefully it catches on.
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Old 8th January 2020, 09:14 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ron Swanson View Post
I've seen a number of videos about the diverging diamond interchange.

Looks like great idea .. hopefully it catches on.
We're getting one next year on one of my cities absolutely nightmare intersections and I couldn't be happier, especially since the one we're planning will have pedestrian overpasses, negating one of the few flaws in the design.
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Old 8th January 2020, 09:16 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
I think this is one of those US-UK differences; what you call a "modern roundabout" seems to be what we call a "roundabout," which have been ubiquitous in the UK for almost as long as I've been alive. What, exactly, is a traffic circle?



Dave
They are controlled by traffic lights at the entrance rather than a giveaway system.
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Old 8th January 2020, 10:04 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Ron Swanson View Post
I've seen a number of videos about the diverging diamond interchange.

Looks like great idea .. hopefully it catches on.
I am curious as to how it would work out when the traffic crossing over backs up into the the intersection because of the dual red light set up.

I guess it must work fine, but it is easy to imagine traffic making the "X" stopping inside the crossover when the light further up turns red. If it is possible for that to happen, it would seem nightmarish.
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Old 8th January 2020, 10:06 AM   #17
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Roundabouts don't work in American for the same reason zipper merging doesn't work, all it takes is one screwhead going out of order to shave .000001 microseconds off of his day to mess up the whole system.

4 way stop signs barely work in America for the same reason. You need a definitive signal that says "You definitely go now, you definitely do not, now you definitely go" at any intersection with any level of busyness in America.
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Old 8th January 2020, 10:09 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
I am curious as to how it would work out when the traffic crossing over backs up into the the intersection because of the dual red light set up.
They're phased, so that it's green all the way through on your go.


Quote:
I guess it must work fine, but it is easy to imagine traffic making the "X" stopping inside the crossover when the light further up turns red. If it is possible for that to happen, it would seem nightmarish.
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Old 8th January 2020, 10:14 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Roundabouts don't work in American for the same reason zipper merging doesn't work, all it takes is one screwhead going out of order to shave .000001 microseconds off of his day to mess up the whole system.
And yet they work fine in Essex.

Dave
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Old 8th January 2020, 10:18 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
They're phased, so that it's green all the way through on your go.
I understand. Here in Philly we sometimes take the yellow light as a cue to squeeze up into the intersection, however, leaving ourselves stranded staring straight ahead as the blocked traffic blares their horns and flips us off .
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Old 8th January 2020, 10:25 AM   #21
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Last time I was in a roundabout, I called it morning driving through the sound and in and out the valley. Then some mountains came out of the sky and they stood there. It was really confusing, and it didn't seem very safe either.
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Old 8th January 2020, 10:28 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
I think this is one of those US-UK differences; what you call a "modern roundabout" seems to be what we call a "roundabout," which have been ubiquitous in the UK for almost as long as I've been alive. What, exactly, is a traffic circle?

Dave
A traffic circle resembles a roundabout, but in a traffic circle, the usual intersection right of way is observed: that one must yield to traffic on the right (in right-lane countries like the US). In theory this rule is modified by priority - applying only when two vehicles enter a space at the same time, but it's poorly observed by many. So since all cars entering the circle do so from the right, traffic within the circle must stop. Many old style circles have lights or stop signs for incoming traffic, but since people tend to blow lights and stop signs, accidents occur.

In a roundabout, the ordinary right of way rule is reversed: all traffic within the circle comes from the left (in US), but has the right of way. This means that once in the circle, one need not ever stop. Since many vehicles within the circle go straight through, or turn right out of it, gaps occur frequently, in which a car can enter.

Several very problematic intersections here in Vermont have been converted to roundabouts, with very positive results.

Four way stops do not work very well, because too many cars arrive at their stops in ambiguous order. The general rule that if cars arrive at the same time, the one on the right has the right of way, and otherwise the one that arrives first has it. A combination of discourtesy on one hand, and misplaced courtesy on the other, can cause such intersections to become quite chaotic.

As for the diamond interchange, I can quite see how it would help in some situations. A prime example of how current interchanges do not work is in the intersection of the state highway with the limited access Adirondack Northway in Saratoga, NY. The highway crosses the Northway on a bridge. There is often heavy traffic in and out of town, but in order to enter the northbound lane of the Northway, one must turn left across traffic. There's a stop light, but its timing only allows about 5 cars to get across, even without gridlock. At times the traffic awaiting that left turn can back up for half a mile. The same problem occurs in the opposite direction, as traffic from the sprawling malls attempts to enter the southbound lane. Even on a good day it's dense and slow. On a bad day it's worthwhile to find alternate routes out of town.

Some of these issues are different, depending on where one is. I find, for example, that four way stops in some places work pretty well. Vermont drivers tend to be pretty relaxed and courteous, and though traffic can back up, it rarely becomes a nightmare. Such arrangements would be impossible in a place like New York City, where I think the term "gridlock" was invented.
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Old 8th January 2020, 10:34 AM   #23
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Traffic science.

There is an excellent book on traffic science titled, wait for it.... "Traffic" by Tom Vanderbilt (2008, Knopf).
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Old 8th January 2020, 10:45 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Worm View Post
Swindon's 'Magic' Roundabout - 5 mini roundabouts placed around a central hub.

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Old 8th January 2020, 10:56 AM   #25
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Old 8th January 2020, 11:16 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by wobs View Post
On the subject of keeping traffic moving, always try to keep a large gap between you and the vehicle in front on busy roads:
http://www.amasci.com/amateur/traffic/traffic1.html
That is, until some **** in a German car uses that gap as their own cut-in-front location

In all seriousness, I try to do this as much as possible and see a positive benefit in my mpg and journey time every time I successfully manage it.
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Old 8th January 2020, 11:25 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
Form Puppcows link:


The second half of the 20th century seems to have passed the US by.
We have roundabouts all over here in the Seattle area.

Not sure what circle people are referring to but circles are on many side streets to avoid too many stop signs.
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Old 8th January 2020, 12:12 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
We have roundabouts all over here in the Seattle area.

Not sure what circle people are referring to but circles are on many side streets to avoid too many stop signs.
The original circles have gone out of style, but some existed when I was first driving, and they were a mess, owing to the right of way issue. It is essentially the right of way that distinguishes a circle from a roundabout. When I was a kid, there was a circle in a nearby town, at which there was a four way yield as well. Although one was required to yield before entering the circle, because of the right of way, if one arrived a split second before a circling car came around, the circling car would have to stop. When there was no other traffic, it sped things up a bit by not requiring full stops to go through but if there was any traffic, it ended up just a four-way intersection with a donut hole.

In Massachusetts, near Boston, there used to be several big circles, which were the bane of many, though they almost worked, because they were multi-lane affairs in which a car could continue in the inner lane without having to stop. As I recall, the entrances to these were yields instead of stops also. The downside is, of course, that you can't get out unless you then cross into an outer lane. Not so bad when traffic is light, but a complete mess in rush hour.
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Old 8th January 2020, 12:22 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
We have roundabouts all over here in the Seattle area.

Not sure what circle people are referring to but circles are on many side streets to avoid too many stop signs.
I HATE those circles plopped down on side streets too small for them.
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Old 8th January 2020, 02:47 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by cow_cat View Post
That is, until some **** in a German car uses that gap as their own cut-in-front location
I know people keep saying this, and, yes, it's true that idiot drivers cause problems in roundabouts, but it is also empirically true that there are fewer accidents and fewer fatalities with roundabouts. Therefore, while yes, idiots can mess it up and cause problems, they do so at a lower rate than at which it happens with traffic lights.

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Old 8th January 2020, 03:18 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by cow_cat View Post
That is, until some **** in a German car uses that gap as their own cut-in-front location

In all seriousness, I try to do this as much as possible and see a positive benefit in my mpg and journey time every time I successfully manage it.
Some things I've observed in the "leaving the space" action.
1. Once capacity reaches a certain high level and low speed, people are very reluctant to change lanes, even if there's a space.
2. With enough room for at least two cars in front of you, someone "cutting in" has little effect to you. It just requires taking the foot off the pedal a little bit to reset the gap.
3. Don't worry about the cars behind you. They can't see your space in front and are not likely to get pissed, especially if you're setting a nice constant pace for the entire lane behind you. If they do, too bad -- they can change to one of the stop & go lanes.
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Old 8th January 2020, 04:01 PM   #32
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By the way, back in 1974 when I moved from NY to Connecticut and had to take the written driver's test again, I got one question wrong. It was about the right of way in a traffic circle. It seemed so obvious that in a circle the right of way would go to those already in the circle. Wrong! Not for a "traffic circle." It does in a roundabout, though, and that's why all the roundabouts you see will have explicit signs telling incoming traffic to yield, because roundabouts are an exception to the right of way rule.
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Old 8th January 2020, 04:24 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
I think this is one of those US-UK differences; what you call a "modern roundabout" seems to be what we call a "roundabout," which have been ubiquitous in the UK for almost as long as I've been alive. What, exactly, is a traffic circle?

Dave
I see that others have already given some good answers to that question but I'll just add that you can see examples of both in the second video I posted in the OP. I understand that some people can't watch videos immediately depending on where you are at the time and how much time you have, but I recommend both whenever you have an opportunity as they are both quite well done come with visual aids.
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Old 8th January 2020, 04:34 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Roundabouts don't work in American for the same reason zipper merging doesn't work, all it takes is one screwhead going out of order to shave .000001 microseconds off of his day to mess up the whole system.

4 way stop signs barely work in America for the same reason. You need a definitive signal that says "You definitely go now, you definitely do not, now you definitely go" at any intersection with any level of busyness in America.
They actually do work though, and better than traffic lights, despite whatever preconceived notions you might have. A screwhead driver trying to shave microseconds off his day can also cause accidents at a traffic light, and those accidents are more likely to be fatal or cause more serious injuries. It happens often enough to amount to about 10,000 people every year and potentially thousands of lives could be saved by switching. They also turn out to be more efficient, reducing traffic congestion.
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Old 8th January 2020, 05:12 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
They actually do work though, and better than traffic lights, despite whatever preconceived notions you might have. A screwhead driver trying to shave microseconds off his day can also cause accidents at a traffic light, and those accidents are more likely to be fatal or cause more serious injuries. It happens often enough to amount to about 10,000 people every year and potentially thousands of lives could be saved by switching. They also turn out to be more efficient, reducing traffic congestion.
It may be that these things work better in some places than others - for example, in Vermont where people tend to be pretty relaxed and traffic is not chronically frantic all the time - but the issue of reducing congestion is the biggest argument. Although movement is not always fair, and not always evenly divided between incoming roads, in a roundabout someone is almost always in motion. The flow is slow, but constant.

One of the problems with traffic lights at difficult intersections is that unless left turns are independently signaled, there will be delays for oncoming traffic. As a result, many city intersections have multiple light combinations, with left turn arrows for some streets alone, others with forward and left, so to begin with, there are more cycles than just alternating forward and cross traffic. People get confused if they don't know the order things happen in. Some drivers are slow to restart at the green, and others reluctant to stop at the red, leading to gridlock, confusion and accidents. In many older cities especially, the left turn lane is combined with a straight ahead lane. If left turn lanes are not completely separate, a person with a green arrow for left can find himself behind a person unable to go straight, wasting a light cycle.

I bet UPS loves roundabouts. No left turns!
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Old 9th January 2020, 01:45 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
The only real objections I have heard on roundabouts is that they are difficult to navigate for bicycles.

I really like them. I wish we had a roundabout at the intersection to enter our subdivision.
highlight

Why would that be a problem?
You'd just put the bike lane just on the outside of the roundabout and give the bicycles the same right of way as the other traffic on the roundabout.

I pass three of this kind of roundabouts on my way to work and I think my hometown has eight in total. They work like a charm.
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Old 9th January 2020, 02:21 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
Why would that be a problem?
You'd just put the bike lane just on the outside of the roundabout and give the bicycles the same right of way as the other traffic on the roundabout.
The problem with that is that, as a car approaches the roundabout, the driver has to give way to bicycles that are coming from behind and to the left[1], compared to cars that are nearer to square on the left, and it's not as easy to see them. I believe the statistics for cyclist collisions on roundabouts are actually rather worse than for other types of junction, and this is thought to be the reason.

Dave

[1] Assuming we're talking about the overwhelming majority of the world population who drive on the wrong side of the road.
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Old 9th January 2020, 02:27 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
Perhaps you posted that a long time ago but it's been in my Favorites folder for quite some time. I like to revisit that page every so often. And I've applied the gap theory and it works wonderfully. I even made up a blurb about it -- "Leave a space, and set the pace."
LOL, You're are probably right! I've had it on my favourites list longer since the 90s, so have probably posted it here before now.

Glad you like.
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Old 9th January 2020, 02:32 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
The problem with that is that, as a car approaches the roundabout, the driver has to give way to bicycles that are coming from behind and to the left[1], compared to cars that are nearer to square on the left, and it's not as easy to see them. I believe the statistics for cyclist collisions on roundabouts are actually rather worse than for other types of junction, and this is thought to be the reason.

Dave

[1] Assuming we're talking about the overwhelming majority of the world population who drive on the wrong side of the road.
You can mitigate this by putting the cycle lanes a bit on the outside of the roundabout, so that at the place cars and bicycles would intersect the physical situation would have changed to a right angle crossing, in respect to each other.

Edit:

Like this (not my hometown).
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Last edited by erwinl; 9th January 2020 at 02:34 AM.
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Old 9th January 2020, 02:34 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
I HATE those circles plopped down on side streets too small for them.
Better than annoying stop signs.
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