Roundabouts in NSW present hazards to bike riders, but it would be simple to make them safer.
Stay Safe Inquiry
In August 2020 Bicycle NSW appeared before the NSW Stay Safe Inquiry Into Reducing Trauma on Local Roads. As part of the follow-up submission process, we prepared a number of recommendations on changes that could make roads safer for bike riders.
Hazards Around Roundabout
Roundabouts present a hazard for bike riders when bike lanes suddenly vanish. This is in the hope drivers will allow a rider to merge into the traffic flow and negotiate the roundabout. The problem is many drivers will not allow a rider to merge, and riders get stuck or hit.
The solution already exists. Dashed lane markings and arrows applied to road surfaces for merging car lanes, provide clear instructions to drivers. Applying these when a bike lane needs to merge with traffic can give riders right of way to merge, and clear any confusion.
Bike riders to give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout
Road rule 119 requires bike riders to give way to any vehicle leaving the roundabout. This is impossible to do safely. The driver could be indicating behind the rider’s back whilst they are in the roundabout, and their signal can’t be seen. The rider needs to focus on the road ahead and vehicles beside them, rather than behind them, in order to ride safely.
The solution is to remove this unsafe rule. Then road rule 114 that applies to all other road users, would apply here too. The driver travelling behind a rider would need to give way to the bike rider ahead of them in the roundabout. This is less confusing for drivers, safer and easier for the rider to comply with.
“We’re calling for these simple changes to make the road environment safer for riders, and less confusing for motor vehicle drivers,” said Bicycle NSW General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.
Bicycle NSW encourages riders to share this article with their MP and local Councillor. Don’t forget to tag in #SafetyOnSpokes and @BicycleNSW if you’re using social media.
Safety On Spokes
This article is a part of our 2 month Safety on Spokes Campaign where we cover a range of topics to make a better environment for bike riders in NSW.