Freewheeler, of ‘Crap Cycling & Walking in Waltham Forest‘ fame, has recently put up a post asking “What’s so magical for cyclists about York’s ‘magic roundabout’?”
The piece notes that the design of the roundabout seems to meet with the approval of the CTC (photos of it can be found in the ‘photo library’ of ‘CTC Benchmarking and Action Learning‘, which apparently involves a ‘commitment to promote best practice’), and that it has even won a road safety award, before arguing that
to my mind the magic roundabout is very far from being the enormous success which it is touted as being. It’s just another piece of vehicular cycling infrastructure – an attempt to make things better for cyclists without in any way seriously affecting the volume and presence of motor vehicles.
That’s my view as well. Putting some paint around the circumference of a roundabout does precisely nothing for cyclists, beyond encouraging them to take up a dangerous position around the outside of the roundabout. Competent cyclists will ignore the paint; less competent cyclists will feel compelled to follow the ‘lanes’ and unwittingly put themselves in danger. This kind of ‘infrastructure’ is going to do nothing to persuade anyone to take up riding a bicycle.
By way of illustration, here’s a recent ‘helmet cam’ video from a York cyclist, bigguychappers, showing precisely how wonderful cycling is around the ‘magic roundabout’ –
Totally substandard cycle lanes, a number of close overtakes, a dangerous pull-out right in front of a narrow pinchpoint (where the cycle lane seems to narrow even further) and then the ‘magic roundabout’ itself, dominated, in this video, by motor vehicles, where the cyclist, wisely, chooses to completely ignore the ‘infrastructure’.
And remember, this is a ‘Cycling City’.