The Perne Road roundabout design

The Perne Road/Radegund Road roundabout in Cambridge reopened recently – it’s been redesigned with ‘continental’ geometry, and wide shared use paths around the perimeter. This picture from Chris Rand gives you an impression of how it looks (and some of the potential issues).

Picture from CherryHintonBlu

Picture from CherryHintonBlu

This redesign was at a cost of £413,000 – £240,000 from the DfT’s ‘Cycle Safety Fund’, £70,000 from the European Bike Friendy Cities Project, and the remainder from Cambridgeshire/Cambridge City Council’s cycling budget.

I’ve been struck by some of the comments from the designer – Alasdair Massie – which can be found here. I’m going to analyse these, in turn.

The geometry is taken from Dutch guidance, although you will see some differences from the classic “Dutch” roundabout. Most significantly there is no segregated cycle track around the perimeter. This was a deliberate decision. We could have provided one, there is sufficient space if other elements were adjusted, but there is no off-carriageway infrastructure to link into and no prospect of providing any in the foreseeable future. [my emphasis]

Here it is stated that the decision not to provide cycle specific provision, away from the carriageway, around this roundabout is deliberate – it could have been provided, but because there isn’t any infrastructure to link to it, there apparently isn’t any point.

I find this slightly boggling. It implies that segregated infrastructure can only ever join up with existing bits of segregated infrastructure, which has disturbing implications for a country that has next to no existing segregated infrastructure.

It’s also, well, complete rubbish. Segregated infrastructure can, and does, join up smoothly with other bits of cycle provision that doesn’t involve separation. Cycle provision in the Netherlands is not made up entirely of segregated provision – it’s made up of a variety of treatments, all of which smoothly transition from one to another, as you cycle along.

So a moment’s reflection shows this kind of assertion to be baseless.

In addition, these kinds of transitions in the Netherlands frequently occur at these kinds of situations. There might be a cycle lane – or even no provision at all – on a link approaching a roundabout, or junction, which then transitions to segregated provision, at the conflict points.

Cycle lanes in Gouda, that become protected tracks on the approach to a large junction.

Cycle lanes in Gouda, that become protected tracks, on the approach to a large junction.

In fact, this kind of arrangement is very, very common, because designing proper separation at junctions is a priority. I’ve frequently been struck by how fairly crap Dutch roads still manage to prioritise physical separation at junctions, because that’s where it is most important. You’ll see it in rural areas too.

Roundabout in Genderen, showing transition from on-carriageway lanes, to physical protection at the roundabout

Roundabout in Genderen, showing transition from on-carriageway lanes, to physical protection at the roundabout

So this explanation doesn’t really stack up. Next –

There is a significant amount of pavement cycling at certain times of day, principally by school children. One of our aims was to make it safer for people to cross the roundabout using the footways, without actively encouraging footway cycling. We also wanted to make it easier to cross on foot, as the previous arrangement involved a 60m detour via a Pelican Crossing, with guardrails to prevent jay walking.

‘A significant amount of pavement’ cycling suggests that on-carriageway traffic levels are too high for people to happily share the carriageway. A proper response would surely involve designing explicitly for these people, creating the segregated provision that it is acknowledged would fit here. Indeed, this has been demonstrated visually.

Image created by Kieran Perkins

Image created by Kieran Perkins

There are issues with motor vehicle access to the properties to the north east of the roundabout (not insurmountable – it would be relatively easy to provide motor access along, or across, the cycle tracks) and whether the Dutch would provide this kind of design with or without cycle priority across the arms. In either case – no priority, or priority – there would be separation from pedestrians, and clear routes through the junction. The motor traffic levels of around 20,000 vehicles/day (as discussed below) would, under Dutch guidance, still allow priority to be provided (the threshold is 25,000 PCU/day – p.246 Diagram 43).

But instead of creating this high-quality provision, the intention is apparently to make it easier for people to cycle on footways, ‘without actively encouraging’ it. Something of a contradiction.

I designed the work and I cycle across it every day on my way to work. I have to say that I am very pleased with the outcome. The traffic flows more smoothly and calmly; it is much easier to break in and out of the flow on a bike, and having watched Coleridge College empty out on Wednesday afternoon, the off-road provision works fine.

Translation – I’m happy cycling on the roundabout; it works for me. And there’s a footway people can cycle on, for those people who don’t want to mix it with traffic.

There are then some follow-up comments from the designer. Among these is a repeat of the earlier argument that segregation won’t work, because there is no segregation on the approaches.

There are no segregated cycle tracks on the streets leading to the junction, no prospect of any being provided in the foreseeable future. Where roadside cycle tracks exist elsewhere in urban Cambridge they are problematic and unpopular with many people. We used to call the abuse suffered by on-road cyclists the “Milton Rd effect” after a particular roadside cycle track. Where isolated cycle tracks exist at junctions they give drivers an excuse to harass and abuse those people who choose not to suffer the danger, delays and inconvenience of using them –I speak with personal experience.

Creating an isolated, segregated cycle track here would have been detrimental to the design in many ways. I would not have recommended it at THIS junction even if the funds were available.

I’ve already examined why this ‘lack of continuity of segregation’ argument is bogus. Another argument appears here, however – that ‘isolated cycle tracks’ at junctions create harassment from drivers for those people ‘choosing not to suffer the danger, delays and inconvenience of using them’.

Note – this argument is coming from someone who has just designed in off-carriageway provision on this very roundabout, that he himself chooses not to use! It’s extraordinary hypocrisy. Surely you should build off-carriageway provision that you yourself would choose to use, before you start complaining about its effect?*

However, this follow-up comment is more revealing, in that it shows what I think is the actual motivation for the design.

I have to say that I have been a little taken aback by the venom with which some in the twittersphere have attacked this design. As far as I can understand the anger is ideologically based – we did not  provide a segregated peripheral cycle track and so some people hate it on principle.

I am not sure at what stage we abandoned the Hierarchy of Measures in LTN 02/08, but this is NOT a junction where I believe that a segregated cycle track around the outside is either necessary or appropriate. Ours is a TOP of hierarchy solution – it reduces traffic speed, it addresses junction danger, it does so by changing the geometry from the wide, flared, tangential British roundabout geometry to a tight, radial arrangement typically used in the Netherlands.

The absence of a separate cycle track is not due to an oversight, a misunderstanding or due to a lack of funds – although funding would have stopped this project in its tracks, if people had insisted on all or nothing. It was a deliberate design decision, because this was the most appropriate solution for the junction. [my emphasis, again]

Now, I think the Hierarchy of Provision (or Hierarchy of Measures) is a woeful piece of guidance, precisely because it can lead to bodged outcomes like this. To see it being used to justify this kind of design says it all. It’s so open to (mis)interpretation it needs to be jettisoned, and I’m glad to see a growing consensus on this.

Indeed, this is a textbook example of how the Hierarchy of Provision can be misused. For a start – the top measure in the Hierarchy of Provision in LTN 2/08 is actually to reduce motor traffic volume, not ‘speed’. This hasn’t been addressed at this roundabout.

Picture 9

The Hierarchy of Provision, from LTN 2/08

In fact, a roundabout with this kind of layout would actually be appropriate, if the Hierarchy of Provision was properly applied, and motor traffic levels were actually reduced to 6000 or so motor vehicles per day, which is what the CROW manual recommends as the maximum volume for ‘mixed traffic’ (cyclists and motor vehicles sharing the carriageway) on a continental geometry roundabout. With that level of motor traffic, a roundabout designed like this could properly accommodate cycling on the carriageway, for everyone.

But the designer hasn’t done this – he’s employed the Hierarchy of Provision ‘pick and mix’, picking out elements from it like speed reduction, junction layout changes, and off-carriageway provision, blending them all up, and then claiming that the outcome is a ‘top of the hierarchy solution.’ Which is just meaningless guff, because

  • the actual top measure – motor traffic reduction hasn’t been applied
  • the bottom measure – shared use – has been applied, and forms a major part of this design.

How on earth does that amount to a ‘top of the hierarchy solution’?

There is then the belligerent insistence that not providing a cycle track is actually ‘the most appropriate solution for the junction’ – apparently in defiance of the fact that significant volumes of motor traffic will still be flowing across it.

There are DfT counts for Perne Road (which runs N-S across the roundabout) – these figures show around 13,000 motor vehicles per day flow along this road. I can’t find figures for an E-W direction, which looks quieter, but this figure of 13,000 vehicles per day corresponds with a quoted figure from Martin Lucas-Smith of 20,000 vehicles using the roundabout, every day (in the comments here).

So this is a busy roundabout, one that – if we really care about making cycling an attractive transport option for anyone – certainly shouldn’t involve people cycling on the carriageway. As already mentioned, it far exceeds the Dutch threshold for ‘mixed traffic’ (i.e. integrating cyclists and motor vehicles) on roundabouts, of 6000 PCU/day (Diagram 42 of the CROW manual, page 246).

I cannot understand how – in this context of continuing high levels of motor traffic – expecting people to share is ‘the most appropriate solution’, especially when the design itself acknowledges that many people don’t want to do this.


*Note. Since publishing this I’ve been told that the designer did not want to include any off-road provision in the original design, although he still wanted to ensure that people could cycle on the footways safely, as per the comments here.

Alasdair explained that the original proposal had no explicit off-road cycle provision, as there is no off-road infrastructure to connect into.

… The original proposals aimed to ensure that people who do cycle on the footway could do so safely and without endangering other path users, but without encouraging or drawing attention to it. Explicit shared-use came about as a direct result of requests made during public consultation and was not part of the original recommendations.

The distinction appears to be between aiming to ensure that people can still cycle on the footway, without drawing attention to it, and allowing people to cycle on the footway, and drawing some attention to it (presumably by the addition of bicycle symbols, and ‘Give Way’ markings in front of the tactile paving).

I’m not sure this is a huge difference – indeed, the original plans, which appeared to tolerate pavement cycling, but without making it obvious it was legal, may even have been worse. But it should be mentioned.

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229 Responses to The Perne Road roundabout design

  1. rich257 says:

    The traffic counts on Radegund Road are about 1300 vehicles per day, and on Birdwood Road 3500 per day, according to the 20mph project base data:

  2. MJ Ray says:

    There’s no no in “country that has next to existing segregated infrastructure” but other than that nit pick I think you’re right on. This consistent designing off-carriageway provision only for subhumans (schoolchildren in this case, as far as I can tell) is offensive and harmful. If not even Cambridge with its famously high (for England) cycling levels won’t build cycleways properly any more if left to make their own decisions, then it’s quite likely that nowhere will. We need minimum safe standards laid down by national government, not the “partners in local authorites” nonsense that Cameron’s minister spouted yesterday.

    • radwagon1 says:

      One of the issues with Cambridge trying to build infra for it’s residents is that the decision is at the County council level not the City.

      The decision making around this also had to appeal to the county’s rural (UKIP) councillors who insist on maintaining their right to drive into town (on their once a month shopping trip) without any loss of traffic flow. And complain viciforously that they already loose out a lot with “all that space and money given over to cyclists” despite that those very same riders same Cambridge from complete gridlock!

      So, as it stands, it’s a tightrope that the LA officers have to walk. What I find even more unforgiveable is that cycle flow through this junction is never considered, only car flow. And the principle that improving cycle provision leads to more people cycling and improves traffic flow as a whole is just so far away as to be laughable.

      It does bring some merit to the discussion that Cambridge City ought to be a separate authority from the County.

  3. davidhembrow says:

    I was in touch with Alasdair Massie more than three years ago because he contacted me about his proposed “Dutch” roundabout design which would not include cycle-paths. It was clear that he had completely misunderstood how and why Dutch roundabouts are safe for cyclists. I described his plan to him at the time as being like proposing to make “a cheese sandwich which didn’t include any cheese”.

    He also made the same objection as you repeat above. i.e. that there being “no off-carriageway infrastructure to link into” means that you can’t have cycling infrastructure on the roundabout. Of course, someone has to actually start doing it right. It could have started 40 years ago, could have started three years ago, but instead we’re seeing the same old excuses repeated time and time again.

    The circular argument about not being able to have cycling infrastructure on a roundabout which links to a road without was the reason why I cycled to a Dutch roundabout which had no on-carriageway infrastructure at one side and made a video specifically to show Alasdair how well this worked if well designed.

    I also wrote a second blog post on the same day, again specifically for Alasdair to read, to dmondestrate that all the roundabouts in the city where I live most certainly do have proper cycling infrastructure. There are no cheeseless cheese sandwiches here in Assen. Nor are there in most other Dutch cities, because such a thing simply isn’t a good solution.

    So why on earth, three years later, has the same very obviously flawed design actually been built ?

  4. I hope Alasdair Massie joins the debate here. There are two points I would like to hear more on.
    Firstly, he seems to be saying that a fully Dutch design where cyclists cross the motor vehicles at right angles, but have to give way to them (as generally preferred by David Hembrow) would be slower for a confident cyclist than his arrangement. This sounds very plausible, especially given the high vehicle flows of 20 000 per day: cyclists would have to slow down and potentially wait some time when crossing the junction arms. I can see that many ‘fast’ UK cyclists (who are already sharing the road with the vehicles and are not compelled to use the cycle tracks) might choose to continue across the roundabout in the road even with a ‘full Dutch’. However, apart from cost, why did he reject the ‘full Dutch’ provision for everyone else?
    Secondly, he seems to imply that a ‘full Dutch’ solution would have prevented funding -it would be interesting to know which aspects would have caused the problem – would it be the legality/obtaining approval for the markings? road safety audit issues? something else? or didn’t they get far enough along that path to really know?
    By the way, I totally reject the idea that a lack of cycle infrastructure on surrounding roads is a justification for not putting in proper infrastructure at junctions. They are the busiest and most dangerous places and need it most.

    • TomP says:

      “They are the busiest and most dangerous places and need it most.” and probably the most expensive places to retrofit it.

    • On the first point (delay) I think the answer is – it depends!

      An off-carriageway track would provide some advantages in time – turning left, you don’t have to give way to traffic on the roundabout. You bypass it, and that’s instantly quicker. I’d also point out that Dutch roundabouts without priority tend to have two-way flow on the perimeter cycle tracks, which again provides flexibility of route – fewer arms of the roundabout need to be crossed. Whether *that* kind of arrangement would fit here, I don’t know.

      I’m not entirely sure what the issue with a full Dutch solution might have been, given there aren’t pedestrian crossings on the arms, which might have complicated matters.

      • I assume it would currently be very hard indeed to get a Dutch roundabout with cyclist priority in the UK -of course, if Alasdair or anyone else thinks they could get that to happen, let’s hear from them!

      • Eric D says:

        “I’d also point out that Dutch roundabouts without priority tend to have two-way flow on the perimeter cycle tracks … Whether *that* kind of arrangement would fit here, I don’t know.”
        They have been fitted here ! LOL
        Cycling on the shared-use is bi-directional :
        give-way lines and triangles both sides
        @@ bike icons upright and inverted

        This is a cycle facility that the designer, being a cyclist himself, intended us to ignore.
        It’s one for the kids.
        Take the lane and mix with the traffic !

    • rich257 says:

      Mike Davies has said that a culvert under the roundabout affected what was possible in the budget

      • Joe says:

        So, with the interior cobbling to enable larger, heavier vehicles to turn, reducing the size of the Rab is exactly what they have done.

    • davidhembrow says:

      The idea that the “priority” roundabout design actually prioritizes cyclists is misleading. Actually, you have to slow down for both types of roundabout because at both types your safety depends rather more on the behaviour of drivers than on your own behaviour.

      The biggest difference in reality is that on the priority roundabout you’re expected to form a human speed bump which is supposed to prevent a driver from progressing further, while on the non-priority design the cars get out of the way and you don’t have to put yourself in a position in front of them.

      Having the drivers made more predictable and having the job of driving made easier by design actually makes it easier for cyclists to maintain speed at those roundabouts than at the design where you have to hope that drivers have seen you and hope rather more that they will change their behaviour as you ride near them.

      At the “priority” design you need to proceed with far more caution and be prepared to react because you can’t rely upon drivers to have seen you and to care about your safety.

      There is a reason why we demonstrate both types on the study tour. Many people form quite incorrect assumptions about efficiency, based largely on the names of the two different types of roundabout and on their appearance rather than on experience of how efficient they actually are.

      Just yesterday we took a large group of planners from Norway to see the problems caused by the priority design. It has become quite a regular occurrence that we show groups of planners how the successful designs of the Netherlands work and also why and how they differ from the less successful designs. I wish I could say that we also regularly hosted groups of planners from the UK, but we do not. British planners seem to prefer to try out untested and half-formed ideas in asphalt and concrete rather than find out what works before building.

      This 400 thousand pound mistake, three years in the making, could be been avoided by doing a little bit of research in advance.

      • I do take your point about needing to slow for both types and that knowing you have to give way can be safer than relying on a huge tin box stopping for you.
        The point I was trying to make is that, with Dutch-style tracks (of either type), a ‘fast’ cyclist on this roundabout may still have found it quicker and smoother to stay in the main traffic stream.
        I would like to hear why Alasdair Massie thinks that the current ‘pavement’ design is better for everyone else than a Dutch layout.
        Perhaps some keen camera owners will take some videos at different times of the day and we will see who does what.

        • davidhembrow says:

          There are many reasons why fast cyclists don’t find the same to be true in NL. But that requires reflecting on a place where problems have truly been solved rather than making lacklustre, but phenomenally expensive, changes to one junction at a time.

          There is never a better time than the present to start doing it properly. To do otherwise simply helps to condemn the UK to an extended future of minority dangerous cycling.

      • I understand why the “classic” priority Dutch roundabout is so appealing to British cycling campaigners – not only does it feel good to actually have priority over people driving, for once, but it looks like the authorities are actually giving bikes top consideration. I love it, myself.

        But the trouble is, we don’t own our own facts, and the data doesn’t lie. The research you’ve done shows pretty clearly that the “non-priority” type is much safer than the priority type. However appealing the priority design is, logically we must promote the safer design.

        • davidhembrow says:

          People also keep forgetting that you actually have to give way at some point or other on every roundabout design, whichever type of vehicle you’re using. The highway code makes this quite clear, and also helpfully lists a lot of other things which you need to look out for when using roundabouts.

          This is really only a question of where you give way, not whether you give way. In practice there is little if any efficiency lost by the safer design, especially when you consider that the safer design allows many turns to be made without interacting with motor traffic at all, or with fewer interactions, and that this is often very much quicker.

          • Phil Jones says:

            “In practice there is little if any efficiency lost by the safer design”

            Surely that depends on that depends on the traffic flow and width of the road to be crossed David? CROW has some guidance on the relationship between traffic flow and delays to cycles, and I recall that there’s something similar in the ASVV, although I have neither to hand at the moment.

            I presume you will say that when traffic flows get heavier then the crossing should be grade separated, or the motor vehicles taken elsewhere, but neither is really a practical possibility here for the foreseeable future.

            • davidhembrow says:

              Any of these questions about traffic flow and road widths are misleading because you’re trying to apply guidance which is not intended for a situation like that at Perne Road. That design of junction simply should not have been built in that location. Frankly, as it is, I don’t think it should have been built in any location. This is simply a dangerous design.

              I do not believe that there is anything in CROW which will support the Perne Road roundabout, even with the most liberal reading of the sometimes rather sketchy recommendations which are made in that manual.

              Yes, in the Netherlands you would expect a grade separated crossing, as well as the routes to be unravelled so that you don’t have this problem of a residential street trying to double as both main cycle route and ring-road. What has been done here is so very far removed from Dutch practice that it makes no sense at all to try to apply CROW standards to it.

              The problem, Phil, is that the foreseeable future never arrives. No-one ever seems to make the first step towards proper safe cycling infrastructure in the UK or properly designing cities to avoid problems like this from occurring. Rather, designers attempt to resolve large scale problems by altering one junction at a time. One bodge after another,

              This certainly is a bodge. It has nothing like the safety record of any type of Dutch roundabout, having apparently already claimed its second victim in just two weeks. That’s an astonishingly high injury rate in comparison with the Dutch town where I live, where there is a lot more cycling than Cambridge but just one cyclist has been injured on all 21 roundabouts together in five years.

              • David, you are a campaigner selling an admirable vision so I expect you to be critical of anything less than the best. The world needs people like you.
                Here we had a dangerous roundabout -one that was noticeably dangerous even by UK standards. The options were:
                1) do nothing -refuse the opportunity to make some safety improvement because it would not be ‘full Dutch’. If the money saved would really be spent elsewhere doing more good then that’s great (but the world doesn’t always work like that).
                2) do nothing to the roundabout until you can get something as good as the best Dutch designs: campaign for a controversial new bypass costing many millions of pounds and taking many years;campaig for changes to UK rules to allow Dutch signage etc; campaign for partial road closures to allow unravelling, all in the face of the current (by Dutch standards) low cycling levels.
                3)accept that, since this is currently the ‘ring road’, there will be no measures to divert traffic away (Even consider actively increasing the traffic on this relatively major road by diverting traffic away from the surrounding minor roads to improve them for cyclists). Then put in whatever measures you can to improve safety.
                Option 3 makes sense and, funnily enough, it probably doesn’t even decrease the chances of option 2 ever happening.
                I haven’t ridden this particular road but the improvements do appear to make it significantly better than before: tighter geometry for slower, smoother flow and to give cyclists the ability to dominate the lane; more space for pavement cycling reducing conflict with pedestrians; better crossing points on the arms. I wouldn’t want to send an 8-year old on it, but it looks safer than before.
                Despite this, I am disappointed that we have missed what, on the face of it, was a real opportunity to put in a decent peripheral cycle track and make the off-road experience practical for the majority. I understand that the vehicle flows are higher than CROW standards and perhaps you and the designer would both argue that is why they were inappropriate. The thing is, wouldn’t they have been better than what has been built?

              • MJ Ray says:

                There’s a lot of truth in that in many ways, but don’t rush to absolutes, else it undermines the argument. In this case, it’s “Rather, designers attempt to resolve large scale problems by altering one junction at a time. One bodge after another”.

                I’m starting to see changes in my town towards altering groups of junctions together. As far as I can tell, this has been forced because money is now so tight that it finally matters that it’s cheaper to maintain 8 nearby junctions in one go and to do any remodelling required by new development before you do any maintenance. In the bad old days of the recent past, sometimes a junction would be resurfaced one month and then dug up the next.

                Of course, the drawback is that changes are limited due to the same lack of funds – there’s not usually any possibility of adding some council-tax-funded highways money to the developer’s money to enable something better to happen. Kerbs only get moved if they needed moving somehow anyway. The only silver lining is that there’s less talk of moving or narrowing any existing cycleways, because there’s no money to dig them up either.

          • You only have to yield to cyclists already on the ring and pedestrians on a Dutch priority roundabout, and not to motor vehicles (though you are expected that if a car won’t yield, you should take what action is needed to prevent a collision, all road users are subject to that regulation), which is why I believe a lot of cycle campaigners around the world like the priority version, because it requires that cars yield. Perhaps the association with the idea of giving way to minor side streets is part of the reason. It was a hard decision for me to decide which one (annular or non annular) to support, I ended up going with the non annular, so that you can have the sightlines you need, and that you don’t actually have to yield to cyclists when you enter the roundabout, only when you cross the road and are rejoining the cycle path, and given that Assen apparently has 2 injuries in 5 years while others have much more, I decided to go with the lower figure. Obviously not without determining why there are just 2 injuries vs perhaps a dozen or more, correlation is not causation, as it could have been perhaps a massive spike in the traffic volumes. I read the part about how much effort it takes to drive a car and then yield that you wrote on your blog and why even at 6 metres distance, this is a challenge.

  5. liz545 says:

    There’s a wonderful bit of double-think at work in the statement “isolated cycle tracks…give drivers an excuse to harass and abuse those people who choose not to suffer the danger, delays and inconvenience of using them.”

    It suggests that he thinks that cycle tracks are inherently dangerous, slow and inconvenient, rather than just the half-baked ones we tend to see in the UK. And then he goes on to design *exactly that* kind of shared-use compromise, with the expectation that ‘experienced cyclists’ will stick to the road (and perhaps get the occasional shout of ‘get on the path!’)

    Why is it so hard for him to understand that safe, convenient, fast cycle tracks can exist, but only if planners like himself go to the trouble of designing them?

    • Joe says:

      The only cycle tracks I can think of in Cambridge are alongside Barnwell Rd & Wadloes Rd. No safe connection between them, but certainly no danger, delay or inconvenience when using them. Is Massie confusing shared paths with cycle tracks?

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head here Liz. What a hypocrite he is, to criticise crap cycle infrastructure while also being responsible for creating it!

  6. Tim says:

    I’ve looked at Kieran Perkins’ overlay and the type of approaches you refer to here and I think that the intention for me approaching as a cyclist would be novel, but relatively clear.

    Then I look at the plan of the new layout ( here ) and the photo on here, and I think I would be thoroughly confused, basically because there are a couple of options, neither of which are optimal. The “shared space” has bikes painted all over it at odd angles (and is level with the carriageway*?) so I guess I’m probably supposed to be there, but wait a minute, now I have to wait to cross roads because I’m (kind of) on a pavement?

    What a mess.

    *Maybe that’s just to make it easier for people to park on it?

  7. baoigheallain says:

    “£240,000 from the DfT’s ‘Cycle Safety Fund’, £70,000 from the European Bike Friendy Cities Project, ”

    £310,000 for a few painted icons. Who has been taken for a ride here?

  8. Joe says:

    “This redesign was at a cost of £413,000 – £240,000 from the DfT’s ‘Cycle Safety Fund’, £70,000 from the European Bike Friendy Cities Project, and the remainder from Cambridgeshire/Cambridge City Council’s cycling budget.”

    It totally disgusts me that all the funding for this debacle has been drawn from cycling budgets. Footway upgrade could have come from ‘Safer routes to school’ or similar. Resurfacing of the carriageway & interior cobbling for turning HGV/PSVs from County roads budget or similar.

    Probably the only place in this country that will get proper cycling infra is Brighton, (assuming the Govt don’t strip away all their cash). I think the starting point is voting for the correct people.

  9. Andy says:

    “I am not sure at what stage we abandoned the Hierarchy of Measures in LTN 02/08…”

    Surely that should have been when the ‘Understanding Walking and Cycling’ report came out and finally stated the bleedin’ obvious. No sane human really wants to mix it for any length of time with cars, buses and HGVs without some sort of protection, thanks. Either you slow all motor vehicles to about 10 to 15mph or separate these two largely incompatible forms of transport.

    As for the money argument it seems the designer himself saw no problem, quote “We could have provided one, there is sufficient space if other elements were adjusted, but there is no off-carriageway infrastructure to link into…”.

    I’ve tried to defend the profession in the past against what I see is unfair criticism, and there may yet be political reasons we don’t know about as to why this design was preferred by the Local Authority, but given such an opportunity I’d hope I’d have given it a better shot at getting decent provision for once, if only to get some good publicity in the trade press. As it is, PBA seem to have missed an open goal.

  10. Jitensha Oni says:

    Perhaps everyone could refer to this design from now on, here and wherever it crops up, as a Massie Roundabout.

    A few thoughts on different parts of this post, and the comments:

    – a) here’s a kind of “half-done” roundabout to the south on Perne Road which looks better than the new design, at least for left turns,0.1524776,78m/data=!3m1!1e3

    though perhaps a local could comment on any problems this causes, and how a full Dutch-stylee treatment (as subject to current UK regs) wouldn’t solve them.

    b) ramming the OP’s and David Hembrow’s point home about doing the junctions when not necessarily doing the straights, here’s a roundabout in Pijnacker, where the northern arm is another example (the other arms are variously interesting & worth a look):,4.4216094,78m/data=!3m1!1e3

    – what I don’t get though, is that if you propose shared use round a roundabout, why you don’t then have to cater for non-VC riders by either…

    a) having shared use footways along straights to the next junctions, and the next and so on; or,

    b) if you put them back on the road, onto lanes as Tim’s link to the plan shows, why you use a kinked transiiton, and not a smooth transition as has been done many times in the UK before. Also see liz545’s point.

    – Paul M’s latest blog post is a good review of how these budgets are typically spent:

    This is another example. The new DfT CDP (can we call it the Goodwill Plan?) seems to be simply encouraging, sorry enabling, more of the same.

  11. platinum says:

    I’ve said it before – if a doctor, as a professional person responsible for life and limb, had prescribed an equivalent solution as has been built here – in other words, no solution at all – they would be out of a job pronto. It’s about time road designers were held up to the highest professional standards backed up by the scientific method, not whatever passes as the current party political whim.

  12. Mike says:

    The vehicles entering / exiting the houses on the roundabout are a problem somewhat glossed over here. I was completely caught out as I looked for cars on the roads, not cars driving across the footpath onto the roundabout

  13. pm says:

    I can’t add anything to what has already been said about the design (why do they keep spending money labelled for ‘cycling’ on stuff that essentially disregards cyclists?). But just as an aside – is that car in the foreground of the picture parked on the shared cyclepath/pavement? So is it a car park as well as a shared use cycle path?

    • MJ Ray says:

      This is from the same funding round that brought us Bedford Turbogate. I’m not sure whether we’ve seen any more funding yet, so at least they haven’t yet kept spending money on crap after this backlash. Maybe they will learn, but don’t hold your breath.

  14. It seems that Alasdair Massie misunderstood the intention of the funds he was using and designed a roundabout for “cyclists” – for people like him, the typical confident, white male aged 18-45 – instead of cycling for everyone.

    Anyone who doesn’t fit that mould gets to “terrorise pedestrians” and wiggled their way around the parked cars instead.

  15. Jim says:

    I’ve a long history working with r’abouts and traffic models, as I worked with some of the early experimental mini r’abouts in 1970s. This r’about has peak hour motor vehicle flows of over 2,000 mainly along the ring road. I’m told that the CROW manual would not give those on bikes priority with such flows, but that ‘lights’ would be provided. The side roads are relatively lightly trafficed but both have large secondary schools within a short distance.With the ring road already being a heavily congested route, I doubt if such lights would give much time to VRUs.
    As we all know many UK drivers will not tolerate cycles on the road if they perceive that good (in their eyes) off rod facilities are provided.
    Like life, without infinite resources the ideal solution cannot often be achieved.
    Although some well trained 12 year olds might use the road here, many parents would prevent children riding such a route. To achieve higher levels of cycle use into adulthood, we need facilities that parents will permit teenagers with Bikeability level 2 to use.
    This is a compromise. It enables confident riders to proceed without much delay, yet gives an option for those crossing the ring road without them becoming ‘pedestrians’ and walking to an adjacent light controlled ped crossing.
    A solution with an outer ring where motor traffic gave-way to cycles and then to motor traffic would not work here with traffic at current levels. In the longer term, when we have better liability laws, and a higher percentage of motor vehicle drivers are also regular riders of bikes (as in other countries mentioned) we might even also have lower motor vehicle flows and such a solution could work.
    We do need full Dutch style r’abouts to filter into the UK, but starting here would be a good place to stop that happening.
    What has happened here is a change in geometry that reduces speed of traffic on the ring road. It does not force those on bikes onto ‘shared use’ but that option has wider splitter islands enabling a two stage crossing against lower traffic speeds for those with only the confidence of one with level 2 Bikeability training

    • Interesting comments. But I still don’t see why these points stop you having a ‘non priority’ Dutch-style track?

    • The CROW manual gives a figure of ‘conflict load’ of approximately 1500 PCU/hour, but this is (I’m assuming) on *each arm* of the junction, not across the roundabout as a whole.

      So I’m not sure it would exceed Dutch levels for a priority (or indeed for a non-priority) perimeter track.

    • There’s an equation here being made between ‘confidence’ and ‘want to cycle with motor traffic’. This is faulty. By and large even confident cyclists would be much happier if they did not have to cycle with motor traffic. That’s why we all go on holiday to NL, DL etc. and come back saying how much nicer it is to cycle on the cycle paths there. All people who can cycle, ‘confidently’ or not, would cycle more, or not give up cycling so soon, if they had facilities that minimised interaction with motor vehicles.

      This contributor is really not understanding the point that this post is making, that has been made many times before on this blog, and on others, such as mine. This kind of two-track solution really serves no-one. A one-track solution that was designed to accommodate all cyclists could have been put in here and could have worked. The reasons being given for it not to be put in are spurious.

      Liability laws, by the way, are totally irrelevant. They are an insurance technicality that do not affect how people drive.

      • Speaking as someone who lives in a country with liability laws, I feel it makes no difference. Wherever I mix with motor vehicles I encounter selfish or unthinking people who pass too close, drive too close behind, overtake just before pinch points, drive too fast, etc. The aggressive “I hate bikes” mentality doesn’t seem to exist here, but there’s still plenty of crap driving.

  16. Ria Glas says:

    How is it possible that one (1) designer can make those decisions and has his plans brought to the streets. Didn’t the alderman have to approve it? Didn’t the council see the plans before they were carried out? Were they not publishished beforehand, with an opportunity to give your opinion on them to the planner( who hasto reply publicly on the comments), the alderman or the council?
    Good planning procedures save a lot of money on bad designs.

    • MJ Ray says:

      The council (in some form – possibly just one cabinet member responsible for transport) would have seen them before the bid went in, but I’m not sure anyone outside the immediate neighbourhood would necessarily see them or that they’d be published (although publication and public involvement are sometimes conditions of funding, which is part of how Norfolk came unstuck with its funding bid to build a road on top of some of National Cycle Route 1). Road changes don’t often require planning permission as far as I can tell.

      The other complication is that Cambridgeshire County Council manages most roads and is one layer “higher up” than Cambridge City Council that usually handles planning matters and public participation.

      • I really agree with you -and it is not just about Cambridge.
        Planning applications for housing etc are handled by local councils and have to be made publically available for objectors; they are then debated in council, so there are two chances (however small) for bad schemes to be stopped.
        However, the associated highways schemes are delegated to officers at county level (with much of the design actually being done by the developer) and they are much less open to public scrutiny.
        In the current economic climate, where almost all highways changes are linked to new developments, highways changes are (part) funded through developer contributions but only to a level that ‘mitigates’ the worst of the harm caused by the development . This can mean that transport studies only really look at the worst effects on vehicular flow so the developer can be made to partially compensate. Dealing with issues that affect cycling (tiny modal share) is just not on the radar. Nor is any possibility of designs that could increase cycling because no single development has potential to cause a big enough modal shift to make cycling needs overtake than motoring needs.
        To make matters worse, if changes are proposed that actually encourage cycling, there may well be more collisions. It’s less trouble to continue build roads that few people cycle on and keep the casualty figures “low” than to struggle to find ways of incorporating new-fangled cycling infrastructure that might backfire on the poor blighter who tries to innovate.

    • Hinton Cyclist says:

      There was extensive local public consultation before this roundabout was built, it is all on the County Council’s website. The cycle path that people are so upset about was the result of that consultation. There was input from officers and councillors of both the city and county councils. All of the local cycling organisations were consulted including CTC, Cambridge Cycling Campaign and Sustrans as were residents and people who just travel through the city They all gave input. What you see is the result of democratic process. If you don’t like the result then I am told that totalitarian regimes have a better record for driving through developments against public opposition.

  17. This roundabout is a complete travesty and joke. It’s a clear example of the rubbish that stems from the “dual network” thought process that some planners & engineers seem to have.

    It achieves nothing. It doesn’t make cycling more attractive or visually safer. It actually increases conflicts, as the provision is not enough to make experienced or fast cyclists leave the traffic flow so maintaining that conflict, and will increase it as drivers will be wondering why the cyclist is “not using the paths that were built for them”.

    Cyclists and pedestrians will be in conflict and you will get the “why are they cycling on the pavement” mentality. Nice wide pavements so pedestrians will wander all over them.

    This seems to be a site with relatively high volumes of all three groups, and would have been a perfect choice for segregated cycle paths. It actually also seems to be a site where there was easily enough space and money to do so.

    Shared paths are fine in areas with low density of cyclists & pedestrians. This is clearly not one of those places

    Massie has clearly & completely misunderstood what has been needed.

    This is a clear example of why new national binding design guidelines are urgently needed (ahead of any new moneys) to ensure that infra is designed and built which is appropriate and fit for purpose.

    • Hinton Cyclist says:

      Be careful what you wish for. There are binding national design guidelines. It is the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges. Have a look at the section on roundabout geometry.

  18. As noted above it is the Tory.Ukip dominated County Council that will not wear what is really needed here. Giving cycles priority would be a move that could really encourage cycling from an early age.

    The trouble is that there is no long term thinking which might reduce congestion in the long term as more people take to their bikes when the real improvements won’t be seen till after those responsible have stood for re-election. What is needed is for the City’s roads to be under the control of the City rather than the County!

  19. This scheme does throw up some interesting points.

    A budget of around £400K is realistic, not far off what a signal controlled junction would cost.

    There are nearly always constraints due to services, a culvert being at the extreme end of that. The drawing created by kieran probably isn’t realistic as a designer would inevitability find his or her self trying to keep the position and size of the island closer to the original. Given the original RBT already had an overrun strip would be interesting to see how tight the carriageway could have been squeezed against this, rather than expanding the strip as has been built.

    Many dutch roundabouts do not exactly match the crow drawings for similar reasons.

    The cycle safety scheme set some pretty narrow criteria that this project has probably met.

    Although we are still waiting on the TRL report on dutch roundabouts and tools like bike-zebras it does seem odd that the designers didn’t aim higher. The hierarchy of provision is not supposed to be applied blind to traffic volume, nor is it supposed to result in dual provision.

    Would be nice if every scheme could follow Tom’s golden rule of bike infrastructure: if you can’t build one set of infrastructure that you’d be happy to use yourself and happy for your kids to use, then don’t build it. Unfortunately my application for the post of benevolent dictator is still pending.

    • Andy says:

      @ Tom Bailey
      “The hierarchy of provision is not supposed to be applied blind to traffic volume, nor is it supposed to result in dual provision.”

      Indeed. The accompanying paragraph in LTN 2/08 also states;
      “When designing improvements to cycle infrastructure, the hierarchy of provision (Table 1.2) offers useful guidance on the steps to be considered. These hierarchies are not meant to be rigidly applied, and solutions in the upper tiers of the hierarchy will not always be viable. However, designers should not dismiss them out of hand at the outset.”
      At least that short section “These hierarchies are not meant to be strictly applied…” seems to go unread by most designers.

      BTW, anyone know where/with whom the ‘Hierarchy of Provision’ originated?

      • Biker1 says:

        Andy- I assume the hierarchy is based upon common sense:
        Less traffic = reduced risk – not an option here at its the ring road and it would require another road to take traffic away. – Massive cost implications and given the economy not the best use of public money I suppose
        Slow the traffic = reduced Risk – this has been achieved, the speed drop is noticable
        Junction treatment – has been done
        the rest to in some format or other

        So as the highest priority was not achievable it seems the next logical options were taken.

  20. davidhembrow says:

    The biggest problem here, and one which no-one has yet mentioned in the comments, is that no effort has been expended in removing cars from what is actually a residential road.

    Perne Road is not just a normal road, it’s an A-road. The A1134. This is a busy through road, even part of Cambridge’s ring road system, but it’s not a ring-road at all. In fact, it’s engineered as a residential street complete with driveways.

    When they Dutch build ring-roads, they don’t just adopt older streets and suddenly allow enormous volumes of through traffic to use them. Dutch ring-roads are specially built and serve to unravel motor vehicle routes from cycling routes.

    For example, here’s a video and blog post showing how building a new ring-road in Assen resulted in a very fine cycling route being created at the same time. In the case of Perne Road, the new ring-road would have to be built somewhat further away than this, but this is still the way in which it ought to be done. Cycling thrives where motor vehicles are not dominant.

    Where it is necessary to cross the ring-road, Dutch cyclists expect to have nothing to do with motor vehicles. Here’s a video showing the crossing of Assen’s ring road by bicycle. Note that there is no chance whatsoever for cyclists to be injured here, and that you also never have to give-way to motor traffic.

    The problem with the Cambridge roundabout is that it is an attempt to solve issues created by years of misunderstanding about larger scale planning. This attempt has unfortunately taken the form of changing just one junction, and not even doing that to a very high standard. Almost regardless of what eventually happens at this junction, it can’t do much to help because it is an answer to the wrong question.

    • Jim says:

      David should know well that this WAS a ring road, built in 1930s. It is only because of weak planning laws at that time that houses front it. He should also know that new roads generate new traffic, and although a ‘Southern By-pass’ might bring relief to this short stretch of road, it only brings yet more motor traffic to surrounding areas.
      I lived in a town where everyone was told the bypass would relieve traffic. It did for a short time, but within a few years it was its former congested self, in part as new housing stretched out over green fields to the new bypass. And this was not Newbury.
      I actually think (isn’t hindsight wonderful..) that the solution here should be to restrict motor traffic access to and from the ring road from the adjacent residential roads. Neither carries anything like the traffic on the ring road and there are nearby locations where motor traffic can join or cross, and it will deter short trips by car (dropping off at schools…)
      Provide a wide Toucan crossing of the ring road, perhaps with just left turns for cars.
      This would reduce conflicts, without reducing capacity on the ring road, and we don’t want yet more excuses for a Southern Ring Road. Filtered permeability big time.

      • davidhembrow says:

        Jim: Yes, I realise that’s the history. The 1930s is a very long time ago and it’s especially a very long time ago in terms of motoring. The last 80 years have seen enormous growth in car usage and I think it’s too much to expect that decisions taken then with regard to how to handle motor traffic should still be adequate now.

        A difference between ring-roads in the Netherlands and ring-roads in the UK is that somehow those in the UK seem to be built not as true bypasses which take traffic from existing roads, but as additional capacity. I understand why you would fear that an additional bypass would cause this problem because in the UK you could well be right.

        But it shouldn’t be right. It should be possible to have “filtered permeability big time” on all the streets which a new Southern Ring Road bypassed.

        As it happens, I was applying hindsight in much the same manner as you were yesterday and I thought of a very similar potential fix to this problem. This junction is very asymmetric in terms of use but the new junction design rather assumes a symmetry and does indeed allow too much freedom to turn from the ring onto residential streets. Clearly there is far more traffic going N-S than in the other direction. I think you’re right that cutting off most side-roads along Perne Road and providing signalized crossings W-E so that cyclists could use the side-roads as through routes would be a much better solution than the roundabout. This could improve cycling conditions for many through routes and living conditions for almost everyone in the area without building a new road.

        However that still leaves the unfortunate residents of Perne Road with the problem of having this high volume of traffic on their doorsteps. The link above showing a new ring-road in Assen shows what could have been a possible future for Perne Road, with the existing through road no longer taking traffic past residents’ doors and the traffic being somewhere that they won’t even be aware of it (clearly in the case of Perne Road you’d have to move the traffic rather further away as planners didn’t think ahead and leave space for growth to the close parallel arrangement seen in Assen).

        Note that the Assen ring was built in the 1960s with extra space for future development and that this was eventually widened and upgraded in 2008. There’s no expectation here that a 1930s arrangement of through routes should be good enough for a 21st century city. Note also that our home (1970s) was actually built outside the ring. Because land was reserved for future work rather than building houses so close as possible to the road, no demolition was required to make space for this work. The improved road has no negative effect on our lives. Generally speaking we can neither see it nor hear it and our streets are actually very similar to how those W and E of Perne Road could be if your suggestion was followed.

  21. Martin L-S says:

    There seems to be a lot of skirting around the ‘priority’ issue here, which for me is key.

    So I’ll ask directly:

    Would cyclists using an annular ring have priority here, or not have priority here? (The level of traffic here seems to be agreed as 20,000 vehicles/day.)

    If there isn’t priority, it seems to me that so-called ‘confident’ cyclists would continue to use the main part of the road, not the annular ring, which they would perceive as slower and more dangerous (as there are more junctions and less visibility). So aren’t we then left with something akin to dual network provision, undermining the point of an annular ring? Or are people saying this is acceptable on the basis that a properly- carved-out annular ring (with cyclists give way at each crossing point) is preferable to the shared-use markings that the County Council added in?

    For the record, I am strongly in favour of wanting to see proper Dutch roundabouts in the UK, as soon as the UK government will get on and authorise them. I also co-wrote

    • Martin L-S says:

      Incidentally, I asked this same question a year ago when the scheme was first debated, and no-one answered the point directly back then:

      • Phil Jones says:


        I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to get clarification on the question of priority from David Hembrow on Twitter today, so it’s good to come across this discussion, where we’re not all constrained to 140 characters. For the record, David, I wasn’t trying to get at you in anyway, but thought that this is a very important issue to discuss. In the day job I’m part of a team that’s drafting new guidance for the Highways Agency on designing for cycling at roundabouts, so that’s the reason I want to explore this matter in as much detail as I can. I have been to the site, about 6 weeks ago when the roundabout was nearing completion.

        Let me try to summarise the position as I see it:

        – The original roundabout was very hostile and many cyclists were being injured. Something clearly had to be done quickly.

        – The larger scale ‘unbundling’ solutions that are being talked about would have taken many years to achieve and would have left the problems in place, and people being injured, for the foreseeable future. The highway authority has a duty to those people to reduce the risk of collisions as quickly as possible.

        – The change in geometry that has been achieved is highly beneficial to those cyclists who choose to remain on the carriageway, and makes it easier to introduce tracks around the outside and usable crossings of the roundabout arms, whether they have priority or not.

        – We ought not to overlook the fact that roundabouts of this type are extremely unusual in the UK, despite having been encouraged by Government documents dating back to 1999 and possibly before. It is very helpful to be able to point to a scheme of this nature, even if it is not perfect. We have to advance where we can – many highway engineers are extremely negative towards this type of layout – as a practice we have tried and failed to have them accepted on numerous occasions. It is for that reason that I’ve included this junction in the Wales Active Travel Guide, which will be published shortly.

        – Given that existing cyclists are by definition comfortable cycling in current conditions, they are unlikely to transfer to an off-carriageway facility unless it gives them time advantages, particuarly since the new layout will make it more comfortable to stay on the carriageway.

        – The traffic flows that are currently using the ring road mean that giving cyclists priority across the northern and southern arms would not be appropriate, according to CROW and certainly David Hembrow. Perhaps a solution to those arms would have been traffic signals – was that considered?

        – The eastern and western arms are much quieter though, and one option would have been to provide priority across those arms, so that cyclists travelling along the ring road could have been enabled to pass through without having to give way. I’d be interested in people’s views of this option.

        – Another possibility would have been to change the junction to traffic signals, but I would be surprised if that could have been achieved within the available budget.

        – I regard the question of whether the tracks around the junction are shared or segregated from pedestrians as relatively unimportant, given that this is not a central location where pedestrian numbers are high, as far as I know. The key questions are around the interaction between cyclists and motor traffic.

        Regards to all


        • Andy says:

          @ Phil Jones
          I missed this (rather bold) comment of yours, before;
          “Given that existing cyclists are by definition comfortable cycling in current conditions, they are unlikely to transfer to an off-carriageway facility unless it gives them time advantages, particularly since the new layout will make it more comfortable to stay on the carriageway.”
          I don’t think you can make the claim that “…existing cyclists are by definition comfortable in current conditions…”. I would suggest the best you could say is that their love of/desire to cycle outweighs their concerns about traffic. This by no means suggests they are in any way ‘comfortable’.

          “In the day job I’m part of a team that’s drafting new guidance for the Highways Agency on designing for cycling at roundabouts…”
          If it’s going anywhere the DMRB I’d hope the emphasis will be on separating cyclists from motor vehicles, all other measures being secondary (I don’t think even those existing cyclists are ‘comfortable’ being mobile speed bumps on the circulatory).

          • Phil Jones says:

            I agree, my apologies – that was badly worded. A better statement would have been “Given that existing cyclists are by definition *willing to cycle* in current conditions”.

            You are quite right – the current drafts of the new DMRB standard very much emphasise the need to provide good quality routes for cyclists that are separate from motor traffic, particularly on high speed roads. I say ‘early drafts’ because that’s where we are, not because there’s any intention on the part of the authors to change that approach.

            That’s not so difficult along links – the issues always arise at the junctions, which is why I’m particularly interested in this scheme and the discussion we’re having, which is really useful.

            The new Active Travel Guidance for Wales will say the same thing. That’s nearly finished and should be published in the next week or so.

            • Andy says:

              If I might ask, is this a new version of TD16/07 or one of the NMU specific standards? And is this all part of the HA becoming a GoCo friendly to all road users?

              As for the Welsh Active Travel Guidance – both those documents would make a current highways tender that bit more interesting from an NMU point of view.

              • Phil Jones says:

                We’re not currently looking at TD16 (which actually says some quite reasonable things re cycling), but are working on an IAN which we hope will add considerably to existing NMU sections of DMRB.

                I know the Cycling Delivery Plan has been widely rubbished but it does make some important commitments re the Strategic Road Network and this is part of that.

            • MJ Ray says:

              I think an even better statement would be “Given that existing cyclists are by definition willing to cycle *despite* current conditions and are cursing highway designers as they ride through every over-the-shoulder junction, pinch point and rumble-strip-like cycleway”… and even then, you’re only starting to get close to the truth for all except the fit and the brave.

    • Very difficult to sensibly answer this without bashing someone’s scheme I haven’t seen from the other end of the country. A solution that is about to be trialled in Newcastle is delivering priority in the minor arms using unidirectional cycle zebras on raised tables set 6 metres back from the junction, the major arms being signalised with toucans. Situation there though is that the vast majority of bike movements are along the same line as most motor traffic, the minor arms are quiet enough for engineers to be comfortable doing this. Not an option if the bike movements more complex or the motor traffic flow more evenly distributed.

      If I had a chance to chat to the designer question I’d ask would be why he put the crossing points for the cycle track so close to the junction, if a correctly positioned annular ring was possible.

      • Phil Jones says:

        Thanks Tom – we seem to be thinking on similar lines here.

      • Biker1 says:

        Tom -I asked this of the designer (its easy send in an email)- apparently there is not enough room for a ring as crossing points need to be far enough back to allow traffic time to safely stop and if you look from google earth you will see numerous problems with drives entrances, shops and access. and the angles that would be needed to take cycles to the crossing would have been quite sharp. If this had been done we would not be having the same discussion on the same blog about a crap roundabout instead of a good step in the right direction – but do better next time.

        • No, there is plenty of room for a ring. Take a look at the update in my other post.

          The roundabout island would have to been made much smaller, and I understand that would have cost a great deal, due to a culvert. The issue was one of cost, not space.

          • Biker1 says:

            This is a major road with very large vehicles and also a busy bus route, make the roundabout smaller to fit in a ring and you risk vehicles using the ring to make a turn if you segregated it then they would hit the roundabout. I thought the granite ring should have been a build out to stop all traffic, but it is an overrun for large vehicles and It works.

            I don’t think a smaller roundabout would let large vehicles through without signifianct risk to others, and cycles and HGV don’t mix well.

            With the current layout a HGV would need to be slow and even with the overun would not have room to overtake a cyclist as its the rear wheels that run on the strip not the front

    • davidhembrow says:

      Martin: The ‘priority’ design might look as if you get something for nothing, but you do not. No-one ever has priority entering any roundabout. Check the highway code for more details. It describes very well how roundabouts work and all the reasons why you may have to change your behaviour on a roundabout.

      In practice neither type has a huge convenience advantage over the other. The give-ways are just in different places. One design though is VERY MUCH safer than the other. Watch the first few seconds of this video to see how convenient this safe design is in reality. Nothing could be faster because it’s not even necessary to interact with drivers. That also results in nothing being more convenient. The road is definitely not faster – I’d have to slow down to use that. Like other ‘confident’ cyclists, I never use the road there or at other rondabouts. Absolutely no-one does because there is zero advantage to doing so. And remember that NL has a lo more genuinely fast cyclists that does the UK because sport cycling is far more popular here.

      So the whole conversation and question about priority is based on a key misunderstanding. In the UK as in NL, you are better off with the safe design. This is in any case is the sole design used in NL where there are higher traffic flows and higher speeds (I.e. more akin to the British situation).

      But with the traffic flows which you have, no Dutch roundabout design would be likely to be built. Rather, cycle and motor routes would be unravelled. You’d be provided with a proper bypass. Or an underpass at the very least. Please see my recent blog posts about underpasses and unravelling.

      So whatever you do there, on that road, with that traffic, there’s nothing truly Dutch about it. It’s based on fundamental misunderstandings of how the Dutch do things. I.e. precisely the sort of misunderstandings that I’ve spent many years trying to explain to British planners and campaigners.

      • Martin L-S says:

        Thanks for this reply. So I can be sure I am understanding what you are saying, is this a correct summary?

        1) The optimal solution that the Dutch would employ is not to have a roundabout here, but they would have built – as part of a bigger overall plan for the city – a separate bypass road for cars so that there isn’t the volume of traffic on the current ring road.

        2) If for some reason that hasn’t been achieved, unravel car/cyclist interactions by building an underpass at this location (or presumably a signal-controlled crossing?).

        3) As a roundabout wouldn’t be built, the question of cyclists having priority in an annular ring doesn’t arise.

        4) However, in general where there is an annular ring, cyclists not having priority at the crossing point with traffic is safer. I.e. cyclists should have to stop and give way to traffic entering the roundabout, rather than having priority over those cars.

        I’m not making a judgement on these points, just trying to make sure I have understood correctly what you are saying.

    • Is the question ‘would cyclists on a Dutch roundabout with this volume of motor traffic have priority, while cycling on an annular ring?’

      Well, there is no simple answer! Sometimes it might be ‘yes’, sometimes it might be ‘no’.

      It’s worth bearing in mind that all Dutch roundabouts with perimeter tracks did not (could not) offer cyclists priority until the 1990s. At that point, in urban areas, priority could be switched, and was. This wasn’t for safety reasons; it was just for convenience.

      The volume of motor traffic isn’t the issue, with regards to priority – genuine Dutch roundabouts, with cycle priority, seem to able to handle ~25,000 motor vehicles per day, at least according to the CROW manual. It’s more a matter of safety.

      I’m not convinced that, with properly designed cycle tracks that did not have priority at the junction arms, a large number of people would continue to use the road. But even if they did, the intention would have been to design a solution suitable for everyone, even if in practice a minority of people still used the road.

      That isn’t the case with this design, where the explicit intention is to divide people up into different categories, and to expect them to take different paths around the roundabout.

      The problem with this design isn’t that there is a loss of priority – it’s that the off-carriageway provision is pedestrian-specific, and poorly designed for cycling.

    • davidhembrow says:

      Yes, and that’s really the bottom line. While some people are trying to defend this design and others are trying to decide on figures for how many vehicles ought to cross junctions or whatever else in order to try to excuse the design, the true value of this roundabout is being proven on the roads by its injury rate.

      • Martin L-S says:

        I’m not sure if that comment was directed at me, but I’m not trying to “excuse” or “defend” the design. I’m (still) trying to get clear answers as to what people think the ultimate proper solution here is. I regard it as a scheme introducing continental geometry, but not a ‘Dutch’ roundabout. There has been a lot of debate internally within Cambridge Cycling Campaign on this roundabout, and I myself am one with such concerns, as evidenced by the story below:

        “But Martin Lucas-Smith, the cycling campaign’s chairman, expressed concern about the shared-use paths, and told councillors it might be better to defer improvements until more cash was available.

        Some respondents wanted to see a Dutch-style design with priority crossings for walkers and cyclists at each arm of the roundabout.

        Mr Lucas-Smith said: “We are very keen to see this roundabout dealt with because it is really unpleasant to cycle through and it’s incredibly poor for walking, but we feel the current scheme is compromised. We feel it’s a scheme being made to fit the budget rather than to come up with a solution.”

        But the meeting heard Government funding would be lost if work did not go ahead.”

        • Phil Jones says:

          I’ve tweeted an image from showing the number, severity and location of collisions at the junction involving cyclists over the last 8 years. Obviously these relate to the previous layout. It’s not pretty.

        • davidhembrow says:

          Not particularly directed at anyone, but at attitudes. What you said above about “a scheme being made to fit the budget rather than to come up with a solution.” seems quite a reasonable comment. The idea that money can only last a particular time before it goes past its best before date and must be spent on one scheme or another is itself a great problem with how things are organised in the UK.

          Bad infrastructure has a habit of lasting for decades. Look how long the previous roundabout went unchanged. That’s why substituting one bad design for another isn’t helpful. You’ll be stuck with this badly designed junction for years now.

          The correct solution here really requires Perne Road not to be the ring at all. It goes back to the long-standing issue of British roads rarely being designed to have a purpose but having grown into a situation which which thy are not really suited for. Almost everything in the UK acts as a through road to almost all means of transport and of course that leads to conflict.

          The Dutch have spent a lot of time on solving this problem properly. Sometimes it requires building new roads to get the cars out of the way. It can’t be done just by fiddling with junctions.

          • Biker1 says:

            David you are making an assumption its a bad design because it doesn’t fit your lay view of a roundabout. As Easy as Riding… also has made many assumptions to fit the argument here. The problem with assumptions is they are just that. I could put many forward to support my argument that this is good infrastructure for the area, the only way to see if it is successful is to see if accidents involving cyclists are reduced. That should not be difficult as there have been more here than most places, 17 reported in the last 5 years.

      • Biker1 says:

        Oh David! that is inflammatory is jumping to conclusions and is below you. The accident happened at 6.30 pm with apparently no witnesses, this is still in rush hour for this location. It was apparently a hit and run. An accident at a location is not proof or otherwise of the suitability of the road layout.

  22. Phil Jones says:

    I’ve just looked at collision stats for the existing layout on Cycle collisions can be filtered out. I invite you to look at how bad they are. It’s far too early to conclude that the new design is making things worse – which I suggest would be unlikely, given international advice on the design of roundabouts with cycling in mind.

    • Martin L-S says:

      You can view the cycle collisions on the CycleStreets collision map here:

      You can get the full report on each collision by drawing a box round the area:

    • davidhembrow says:

      which the were collected. It’s much too early to claim that this is better or worse than the old design because we simply cannot know that yet.

      Given that the design absolutely does not follow the principles which can make roundabouts much safer for cyclists there is no reason to expect any appreciable difference. What is gained by comparing the old awful design with the new awful design when both fall so far short of international best practice ? Truly safe roundabout design for cyclists does not resemble this bodge any more than it did the previous bodge.

      As it is being claimed that international advice has somehow been followed with this design, let us make a truly international comparison:

      Because at least one injury has already occurred here within two weeks of opening, enough data has already been collected for an early but accurate comparison to be made: I don’t have to wait another 258 weeks in order to be able to absolutely definitely tell you that the performance of this roundabout where safety of cyclists is concerned is certainly no better and is very likely much worse than a design of roundabouts which has proven itself to be so safe that 21 roundabouts between them caused just one cyclist injury in 5 years.

      Note that 20 of Assen’s roundabouts caused no cyclist injuries at all in five years. Only the very worst roundabout in Assen caused a single injury over that period of time. If this new roundabout in Cambridge causes absolutely no injuries at all to cyclists over the next 258 weeks then in five years time we will be able to say that it is genuinely equivalent to the worst performing roundabout in Assen. It can never match the other 20 roundabouts in Assen because the new Cambridge roundabout exceeded their injury rate for five years in just its first two weeks of operation.

      In my view, only a very brave or very foolish person who would bet on this roundabout causing fewer injuries in the next 258 weeks than it caused in the last two weeks. The more rational position to take is that we expect more injuries to occur over a period more than 100x as long as his already passed. Therefore the likelihood is that the long term result will show that this is in fact much worse than the most dangerous Assen roundabout.

      I told the designer of this roundabout that his ideas would lead to an unsafe junction three years ago. He ignored international best practice and went ahead with buildng this awful and dangerous design. It will almost certainly cause further injuries. It should never have been built.

  23. Phil Jones says:

    David wrote “In my view, only a very brave or very foolish person who would bet on this roundabout causing fewer injuries in the next 258 weeks than it caused in the last two weeks.”

    I won’t take that bet – but I will bet with you that the new design will have fewer collisions – and ones involving cyclists – than the previous one. Really we should wait for 3 years to get a reasonable amount of data, but let’s review it after a year, shall we?

  24. Duncan Skinner says:

    It is more dangerous than before. I have e-mailed councillors to request an urgent review of this new roundabout. I think the new arrangement is very confusing and, more importantly, very dangerous. Cyclists using what appears to be the cycle lane have to avoid pedestrians, parked cars, and give way three times if going straight on, 5 times if turning right. If cyclists stay on road ( and almost all do ) they now have to compete with cars in even narrower openings than before. Something need to be done immediately.

    • MJ Ray says:

      How do you get “give way … 5 times if turning right”? I think it’s still only three: there’s no give way onto the centre island to the right of your approach lane, then give way to cross the exit lane, then give way to the approach lane of the road on the right, then give way to enter the exit lane.

      It’s still an awful design because most of the crossings have you either approaching with poor visibility or swinging wide on the approach in a way that seems likely to surprise other road and path users, but let’s not describe it as even worse than it is.

    • Biker1 says:

      h do you suggest? its easy to say its wrong, but having some valid evidence would be useful. Writing to the council will get you nowhere unless you have some proof other than your opinion.

  25. rich257 says:

    I’ve taken a series of pictures of the roundabout, so you get a walk around, plus a couple of people cycling on the road section:,61846-8/, in addition two videos showing the view from a bike:

    From observing the roundabout on Saturday at around 1230 I would say that the traffic was moving more slowly. With the crossings so close to the roundabout entry/exits it was difficult to predict where vehicles were going and to cross easily.

    I did see a few people leave the road at the entrance to the roundabout and cycle around it on the shared use and then re-join the road – the route that an annular ring would take you. There are a few more comments on the pictures as well.

  26. user1 says:

    @David Hembrow

    You’ve written before that no cycle paths in Assen have priority when crossing roundabout arms, but note that thousands of people have taken to the streets and protested not for ‘going Assen’, but for ‘going Dutch’. And cyclist priority roundabout design was the most successful in Dutch towns and cities for past over 20 years. End of story.

    This design is not like ASLs and other things which were popular in the past in the Netherlands, but are now considered old-fashioned. Indeed, more and more such roundabouts are being built. On the other hand, anyone heard of a circular cycle path around a roundabout replaced with an ‘Assen design’?

    A comparison between a total number of collisions says little about real safety, especially if you don’t take into account such basic factors as cycle and motor traffic volumes, or simply who was at fault (the cyclist or the motorist). Statistically, junctions with cycle paths are more dangerous for cyclists than junctions without cycling facilities (source: So what?

    But of course cyclist priority roundabouts are not built in order to make some road safety statistics look better. They are built because of convenience of cyclists. Personally you may find this design less convenient, but apparently most people have a different view (I’m talking about urban roundabouts in general – in some specific situations cycling on two way cycle paths without priority can indeed be faster. This may well be the case in Assen). Do you really think that 25 years was too little for the Dutch to figure out on which type of a roundabout it’s easier to cycle?

    • Have you actually read that linked document, or did you just cherry-pick the bit you liked best?

      If you read the following two paragraphs, you’ll see why Janssen’s study is severely flawed, as is the conclusion you wish to cling to.

      • Biker1 says:

        No cant see a severe flaw, just a reference to other studies and more worked out data. I think the cherry picking comment was uncalled for in fact to cherry pick you need to read.

        Its worth considering what appears to be your argument, just because you don’t agree with something doesn’t means its wrong.

    • davidhembrow says:

      User1: Mine is one of very few voices which have been consistent over the last 15-20 years in favour of the UK copying from the best of what the Dutch have done. That thousands of people suddenly discovered that this was something worthwhile in one sense heartens me, but I am also aware that many of those people don’t fully understand what it is that they think they want to support.

      The CROW cycling manual includes advice on how to build a very wide range of different types of infrastructure. Not all of the content is aspirational. This means you’ll find details of ASLs, on-street cycle-lanes, cycle-lanes in-between motor lanes, roundabouts without any cycling infrastructure, and even of such things as cycle-paths and lanes which give up before junctions where you really need them. i.e. pretty much the sort of stuff which the UK already builds. If the only lessons which were taken from CROW were these, you’d end up with “Dutch” inspired infrastructure which was a very long way short of what most locations in the Netherlands have. How you read Dutch guidance is important and it’s often the case that British people read it rather differently to the Dutch.

      Similarly, if you simply look at Dutch streets you could also easily find lesser examples there. People do this quite often and they take back the idea that something “more achievable” is a good enough target to aim for. But that’s not good enough at all. Aiming low for 40 years is what got the UK into the state it’s in today. This is why I have long campaigned not just for anything “Dutch” but for adopting the best of what the Dutch have done. This is so because it is only by copying the best examples that real progress will be made.

      There are unfortunately plenty of people out there ready to sell you “Dutch” infrastructure which is less than what you need.

      So far as roundabouts are concerned, there are three main design variants shown in the CROW manual. One design has no cycling infrastructure at all and is all but extinct in the Netherlands. It is suggested that this be used only with the very lowest traffic flow, and that even then it is strongly suggested that it is better to provide cycle paths around the roundabout. This is the design which has somehow been picked up in Cambridge and used at a very busy location. The two other designs are both far more common than this in reality. One of these two designs can be found all over the country and the other design is found only in some parts of the country. The design which can be found everywhere is the design which I favour for its safety and efficiency. It’s not an “Assen” design and its certainly not old-fashioned either. Indeed, on our study tour last week we visited a brand-new example of a roundabout like this which we couldn’t use properly with the previous study tour group. It’s outside Assen, built by a different authority. The right design for that location. You will find this safe design used in all areas outside of town centres right across the country and no-one proposes to change that because it is recognised that the “priority” design is not suitable where traffic volumes and speeds are higher. i.e. not suitable in situations more akin the UK. The “priority” design is used in many Dutch cities now, but the safety problem is widely recognized and many cities have opposed this. Assen is one of many places which has not adopted this design because the people in charge of roads and cycle-paths here have precisely the same concerns as I do. Mine is not an unusual opinion.

      You shouldn’t be surprised that I use good examples from Assen because there are very good reasons for this. First of all, I’m not here by accident. We live here specifically because this place offered us an unusually good cycling experience even by Dutch standards. We could have settled anywhere else in the country but chose Assen. What’s more, because we live here and we have used all of the infrastructure in this city, we have first hand knowledge of which parts of it work particularly well, as well as which parts do not. And if you read my blog you’ll note that I’ve often written about the parts which are less good. They also feature on study tours in order to show people that they must avoid making the same mistakes.

      I present figures about Assen roundabouts because I know them all well and I know that they really do work well for cyclists. What’s more, by presenting every single roundabout in the city, this removes the possibility of my having cherry-picked only the best example and used that to compare with lesser examples elsewhere. When we view whole cities, people will be making much the same types of journeys on average so it becomes less important to work out what the traffic flows are on one specific junction vs. another. Because the crash and injury figures really are very good here (just one cyclist injured at a total of 21 roundabouts in 5 years), it becomes extremely easy to make comparisons because many individual roundabouts elsewhere have worse accident statistics than all of Assen’s roundabouts added together, regardless of their sometimes quite low traffic flows. It’s often the case that dozens of injuries have occurred over the same time-frame in other cities of a similar size.

      The statistics which I have presented go far further than the total lack of statistics presented by most of those who like to disagree with me. Don’t make the assumption that just because someone is a Dutch expert that they necessarily know or understand the statistics either. One expert who I spoke to a couple of weeks ago assured me that his home-town had equal safety to Assen despite using the other roundabout design. Five minutes in front of the computer after I got home revealed that this claim stood up to no scrutiny at all. In fact there had been dozens of injuries and even deaths on the roundabouts of his town over the same five year period.

      Any of us can all make mistakes. It is by looking at the figures that we avoid letting opinion get in the way of facts.

      I see that Schrödinger’s Cat has already pointed out the flaws of your thinking about the document that you linked to. I can add nothing to that, but will repeat his call for you to read it in its entirety.

    • user1 says:

      Yes, roundabouts like those in Assen can be found in other cities as well, but still cyclists have priority over drivers on about 60% of urban roundabouts. Which is quite a large number, given that 25 years is not much time to rebuild all of them. It’s clear that in most locations people prefer this design. I think that if the majority of residents would say ‘we don’t want to have priority when cycling because we “are used as mobile traffic calming devices” and our journeys would be more efficient if we’d have to wait for the cars to leave the junction’, then authorities would have no problem with giving cars right of way.

      What I’ve written in my previous comment is a correct conclusion from a correctly conducted study: in the Netherlands, junctions with cycle paths are on average more dangerous than junctions without specific cycling infrastructure. I’ve linked to the SWOV document intentionally (instead of e. g. some Franklin or Forester publication), because – as Schrödinger’s Cat rightly has pointed out – two paragraphs later there is an explanation of that paradox, so that no one could use it as an argument for building busy junctions without cycle paths for safety reasons (it would be an absurd to do so). I’ve used this example to show that just comparing numbers of crashes at junctions having some features (or even numbers of crashes divided by numbers of cyclists) is not always the best way to compare safety of the junction layouts themselves, because there are other factors which should be taken into consideration (this is well explained in the document). Maybe in Assen cycle routes are arranged (or: roundabouts are located) so that cyclists mostly can avoid roundabouts or at least have as few crossings as possible, but this is not necessarily the case in cities where roundabouts with priority for cyclists over drivers are used.

      As for statistics supporting this design of roundabouts, I can only repeat once again after Mark Wagenbuur: while they may be “slightly less safe” than roundabouts without cyclist priority, they are still safer than ordinary junctions. David Hembrow responded that roundabouts mainly increase motorists’ safety, but could anyone give any evidence supporting this, please? A properly designed roundabout is a kind of traffic calming, so I’d say that pedestrians and cyclists benefit from it even more than motorists. The design speed should be 30 km/h, which is well enough for crossings to have priority and be reasonably safe (if other conditions are met, like good visibility, sufficiently low car traffic volumes etc.).

      But I think it’s one of these cases when some people over-analyze things which are not really worth much discussion. It happens when something new is introduced (like Enschede roundabout was in 1990) and people used to old conditions and not seeing much need for a change (like designers in cities which don’t follow CROW recommendations) fear every possible drawback of the new infrastructure.

      Contraflow cycling on one-way streets is such an example. There is usually a panic among motorists and the police about how terribly unsafe it must be. So studies in various countries have been conducted showing that this is not true. But the Dutch probably haven’t even checked this*. It’s completely irrelevant to them whether cycling in one direction is slightly safer than in the other direction. They’d say it’s stupid to ban cycling against traffic or with traffic only for that reason. If there is room for the car and the bike to pass each other, they allow this and it works just fine. It has “always” been in this way.

      So, use both types of roundabouts, because both are useful. However, in most typical urban locations the design with priority for cyclists will probably have more advantages for them, as the example of the whole Netherlands shows.

      * Or maybe someone could find a relevant study? From what I’ve checked it seems that no such research has been done in the Netherlands.

      • davidhembrow says:

        Whatever you might think, I don’t make this stuff up. I’ve read any amount of material about road safety in the Netherlands and this is where the facts come from in my blog posts. There is indeed solid evidence to show that roundabouts mainly benefit drivers and that the priority design does not do much for the safety of cyclists. In my blog post about the preferred, safer, roundabout design, I linked to a Dutch report with summary in English. The information was there for you to find all along, but I should realise that people don’t follow links even when they are provided.

        So now I’ve added an extra section to the blog post describing roundabouts specifically to point out that the safe design has just one seventh of the injury rate of the priority design. That’s how big the difference is.

        Note also that the overall safety of cyclists in the Netherlands is impacted by between 1.8 % and 2.5 % by nothing more than the difference between priority and “non priority” roundabouts. Just these few junctions are that significant.

        Note also that this is for Dutch drivers on Dutch roads, and with everyone familiar with cyclists. I would expect any of these roundabout designs to be less safe for British cyclists riding amongst British drivers who are less familiar with cyclists, but that the priority design would especially suffer due to it requiring drivers to look out for cyclists’ safety. Indeed, it might well turn out that very small positive effect of the priority design in the Netherlands vs. an unsignalled junction could turn into a negative in the UK.

        Also note that the report shows that measures were supposed to have been taken to improve the safety for the cyclist priority design but “the safety benefit cannot be proven” for this. i.e. these measures either were not applied correctly or they didn’t work.

        You also mention one way streets so I must point out that one way systems in the Netherlands are mostly not at all like those in the UK. Therefore, any result from here wouldn’t be relevant to Britain. Why ? Because one-way streets in the Netherlands are mostly used to exclude motorists from residential or shopping streets, not to “improve traffic flow”. i.e. when going the wrong way down a one-way street here you’ll normally see absolutely no cars at all, which isn’t at all the situation which people are being put in in the UK where contra flow cycling is being permitted on very busy streets.

        Note that the most dangerous junction in the whole of the Netherlands is on a one-way gyratory system. This type of road layout is a very uncommon thing here. Quite clearly, this isn’t a safe way to design roads for cyclists in the UK or the Netherlands.

      • user1 says:

        I read links when I need to, but the report is written mostly in Dutch and I didn’t know that English summary is in the same PDF. Now I’ve read it carefully and it turns out that figures in that report are not very informative when it comes to numbers of collisions involving cyclists, because it doesn’t distinguish them from moped riders (Fietsersbond pointed this out too). But as I said before, statistics are not the most important issue here.

        I see that you included new illustration in your blog post. While it’s true that with the design where cyclists have priority over drivers they still have to give way to other cyclists, it seems that you forgot that with the other design they have to give way to other cyclists as well. Though because of lack of explicit give way markings in this example it’s unclear whether they should give way to cyclists coming from both directions (like the geometry and center lines suggest) or only from one direction (as Dutch highway code says).

        Whether cyclists have priority over drivers on roundabouts or not, the optimal average (for all directions) number of places when they have to give way to other cyclists remains the same, because they cross each other’s paths at the same number of conflict points. So when they have priority on roundabout’s arms, they do get something for nothing (i. e. only at cost of motorists).

        This is even more visible when we compare left turns (at least if all cycle paths are one way, which is a standard in urban areas):

        I’d like to remind you that you blogged how convenient simultanous green junctions are, because you can make a left turn in one go, as opposed to “standard Dutch (signalised) junctions” where it has to be done in two stages.

        The description below your illustration saying that with the one type of the roundabout “safety is at the hands of drivers” is misleading, and that is to be polite. In both cases cyclists have an equal control on their own safety. But when cyclists have priority, they have more freedom. They still can give way to cars even if they’re not required to, but most of them would just maintain their speed and make sure that they can safely cross the road. You may call it “forming a human speed bump”, but in fact it’s normal thing you should do on many cycle priority crossings on main cycle routes, not just at roundabouts. It’s easy even for children and people with disabilities.

        Of course, some of them make bad use of that freedom (e. g. not take into account that some drivers may fail to yield) which results in a few more collisions per year. While thousands behave properly and take advantage from having priority. Is it worth to require all people cycling to yield only because that few is not able to use their common sense? I don’t think so.

        As for Zwolle bicycle roundabout: unlike Shared Space schemes, for example, it’s aim wasn’t to “improve the road safety” (i. e. decrease the number of casualties), but to reduce the road danger (slow down cars by physical traffic calming and require them to give way) so that cyclists having priority can cross the road as safely as possible.

        IMO here lies one of the greatest mistakes in your position (this kind of thinking is also visible in many “road safety” publications): that on some type of junction cyclists are involved in seven times more crashes, it doesn’t automatically mean that it’s seven times more “dangerous” for them.

        When I find more time, I’m going to write a longer text on this subject, because I see that things have gone too far. I have been thinking about it for a while and now I see that if cycle crossings at roundabouts were not treated exceptionally (and they are mainly because of historical reasons), but if normal Dutch standards were applied like to any other crossings, then cyclists should generally have priority at ALL roundabouts (unless there are traffic lights), including in rural areas and with two way cycle paths. Though sometimes a circular cycle path around a roundabout may be a better solution, and sometimes a shape similar to that in Assen.

        “Cyclist priority on roundabouts complies with the standard regulation: through traffic has priority over non-through traffic” (Fietsersbond). Surely CROW recommendations can be improved, but it doesn’t mean that we should turn the clock back to 1980s and say that main cycle routes should give way to all car routes they cross on roundabouts, even if it’s only an entrance to a car park (like in one of the latest examples on your blog).

        • user1 says:

          It turns out that you open the image in imgur website, it’s cropped so that at first you may not see my description. Here is a direct link:

        • davidhembrow says:

          I look back here after a few days and find this confused response. I’m afraid there isn’t an easy equivalence between priority at side road crossings and at roundabouts nor between simultaneous green traffic light junctions and roundabout priority. The situations are different you should not generalize about them. The resulting safety of these junction types is also very different.

          The roundabout design which you have for some reason decided to champion is proven to be seven times more dangerous than the other design. And yes, I do mean “dangerous”. These junctions send people to the hospital and to the morgue seven times more frequently than the design which I recommend. If that’s not danger, I don’t know how you define the word.

          You’re adding confusion by making out that side road crossings are somehow equivalent to roundabout exits. They are not equivalent and the statistics show that they are not equally dangerous. You’re also adding confusion by bringing in simultaneous green junctions, which are a different solution altogether.

          Well designed side road crossings and simultaneous green junctions are not only very convenient for cyclists but both of these are also proven to be very safe. For example, we’ve had no injuries to cyclists at all at simultaneous green junctions in Assen.

          It makes no sense at all to try to draw a parallel between these things because they are not the same at all. The only person talking about turning “the clock back to the 1980s” is you. What I recommend now and have always recommended is adopting the best of 21st century infrastructure and skipping over errors made in the past in the Netherlands.

          Amongst your ramblings you also made some odd comment about it being unclear in which direction people have to give way. You’re simply wrong about this. There is no confusion at all about this in reality. It’s very clearly marked. Bidirectional paths around roundabouts with priority have been shown to be particularly dangerous because drivers don’t anticipate this so those are rare and not recommended by anyone. However, bidirectional paths around the preferred and safer design are not dangerous at all, are very common and are part of why this design of roundabout is far more convenient than you imagine. It’s very rare that anyone ever has to do what you show in your illustration. i.e. go three quarters of the way around such a roundabout.

        • Biker1 says:

          Well said. I think its also important to remember that driving rules on the continent are different from the UK. They are more based upon rights of way, where our highway code is based upon priorities. If you have an accident in Holland someone is at fault. Here in the UK its not that simple. This leads to one of the biggest problems, road user attitude.

          In Holland you see drivers (most who are cyclists by all account) give way to cyclists in a well mannered way, they know they are presumed to be in the wrong in the event of an accident. That just won’t happen here as our rules leaves room for doubt.

          Lets build UK infrastructure instead of Dutch, because it works there and other countries with similar highway codes, doesn’t mean it will work here.

  27. A few thoughts from visiting this roundabout earlier this afternoon with my SO and her 12-year-old daughter, who rides through this junction every day on her way to and from school.

    1 It’s unclear. Because the off-carriageway shared-use route is not a designated lane and therefore not coloured like just about every other cycleway in Cambridge, it’s not instantly obvious where cyclists are supposed to go. That means that youngsters are being asked to make a series of decisions under pressure, something that research indicates young minds do poorly. (This New Scientist article is about the voting age, but has some useful insights

    2 Drivers don’t know where cyclists are going to be. Because cyclists can either use the main carriageway or the shared-use, off-carriageway paths, drivers are expected to look for cyclists in a number of places at each arm of the roundabout, instead of just one.

    3 Rather than rejoining the carriageway into bike lanes or separated cycleways, cyclists using the off-carriageway option are guided back into the carriageway close to the roundabout, where drivers habitually accelerate to regain speed. Cyclists unexpectedly entering the carriageway is the major cause of driver/cyclist collisions where the rider is at fault, yet this conflict is baked into the design.

    4 Cyclists using the off-carriageway option have no priority. To cross to the islands on Perne Road in particular, this means long waits as drivers accelerate off the roundabout, even on a Sunday afternoon. Also, the islands are tiny, with enough room for three or four riders at most. This on a route that has literally hundreds of schoolkids every day. Coleridge College, winner of this year’s Sustrans Big Pedal, is 100m up Radegund Road. In other words, a junction that feeds the most cycled-to school in the country is inadequate for teenage cyclists

    5 The narrowed carriageway on the roundabout itself and its exits and entrances means that a mistake is more likely to lead to a collision than before. Lower speeds may mitigate the seriousness of such a collision, but Cambridgeshire County Council is wrong to say that Friday’s crash is an “aberration” – such crashes are a consequence of the design. And surely protecting cyclists from “the type of driver we are talking about” is the purpose of a redesign intended to make a junction safer for cyclists. I’ll happily take Phil Jones’ bet.

    We also observed a guide dog user trying to simply walk round one section of the roundabout who was clearly somewhat distressed that the pavement was putting her in the path of cyclists. As ever, shared use, particularly shared use with high levels of cycle use, is unpleasant for everyone.

    In Cambridge News’ report of the recent collision, the victim’s mother mentions she knows of another recent incident, so that’s two crashes in the week since the roundabout opened.

  28. Comments on the asterisk note:
    There will be lots of school kids on bikes here. I expect many move slowly and rather aimlessly in mixed cycling/walking groups. It is good for them to be able to be with their mates, away from fast-circulating traffic, without breaking the law. Not having to risk prosecution for riding very slowly and safely on a pavement is good, but it is not the same thing as a “cycle route”. So there still needs to be proper cycle provision on the roundabout. The designers have opted for this provision to be on-road by making the layout tighter and slower -a really promising step forward compared with the UK standard roundabout.

    However, I still want to see a UK roundabout with a proper off-road track. I don’t think that lack of cycle infra on surrounding roads is a good enough reason not to have one. The question for Perne Rd and the future is: what is really stopping us?
    1) Cost? There seem to be conflicting views on whether there was enough money for and off-road track at Perne Rd.
    2) Law/Safety Audit/Politics/Time? Was is just going to be ‘too hard’ to get a genuinely Dutch design approved?
    3)Queues for cars? Actively encouraging off-road cycling on a ‘priority’ track would have reduced peak capacity because of the increased number of cyclists at the crossings. Would the council have even been prepared to consider this?
    4)Slower for some cyclists? Road-using cyclists would find an off-road ‘non-priority’ track slower as they waited for gaps in high-volume rush hour traffic. Some would prefer to continue using the road, especially with a slower, tighter geometry making it less hostile than before. Would a relatively high number of cyclists shunning an off-road annular track really have to be a nail in the coffin for future ‘Dutch’ schemes? I hope not. We can’t hope to eliminate on-road cycling here as (unlike NL) the riders approach the roundabout on the road. But that doesn’t stop decent off-road tracks benefitting many cyclists, would-be cyclists and pedestrians.

    • davidhembrow says:

      There are actually many instances where Dutch cyclists approach Dutch roundabouts on the road, join a cycle-path just before the roundabout and continue around the roundabout riding in far greater safety than they would if on the road. There is no reason whatsoever why this can’t be done in the UK, no reason at all why it wouldn’t fit in the area of the Perne Road roundabout, and I pointed this out to the designer of your new roundabout three years ago.

      • I think we are mainly in agreement here. We need someone to build a Dutch roundabout in the UK so the rest can follow.
        However, I still believe that in a situation like Perne Rd, some cyclists (mainly the relatively less vulnerable) would continue to use the road because people “are like water; they will always flow to the point of least resistance” [Michael Herbert, Prof Town Planning, UCL] and sometimes using the road really would be faster.
        If a Dutch roundabout improves overall safety and convenience across all the user groups then the continued existence of some cyclists on the road (with safer, tighter geometry) shouldn’t stop us. Nor should we ask for a law that tries to force cyclists off normal roads onto slower off-road tracks.

        • davidhembrow says:

          How effective is the law which requires cyclists not to use motorways ? People are sufficiently unenthusiastic about cycling on motorways that I would say it’s barely worth having that law at all. And where a motorway goes there’s always got to be some other alternative for slower vehicles, so there is less to push a cyclist onto a motorway than only a dual-carriageway, for instance, so no-one seems to complain about not being able to cycle on motorways.

          It’s a bit the same in the Netherlands. There aren’t a whole of complaints about not being able to take the road all the time because we’re really not slumming it on the cycle-paths. If you had equivalent quality infra in the UK to what exists here then you’d find all the people who think they prefer the road now would switch over time to using the cycle-paths instead. They’d do so because it’s both safer and more convenient.

          If it doesn’t happen then that proves that the infra wasn’t built to a high enough standard. This new roundabout in Cambridge certainly isn’t built to anything like a high enough standard and certainly won’t have that effect.

          BTW, I actually am one of the nutters who would occasionally ride on dual carriageways in the UK if it was the quickest way of getting somewhere. But I rode there not because dual carriageways are pleasant but because there was no real choice. I was forced onto those roads, not attracted onto them. Of course part of having the low cycling modal share that the UK has is that people in general are not attracted to cycle on much of the infrastructure at all.

          FWIW, the Netherlands is of course not perfect. But it’s pretty good. I’ve been forced to take to the road just once in the last seven years in NL.

          • MJ Ray says:

            “no-one seems to complain about not being able to cycle on motorways” – Actually I would probably have ridden up the shoulder of the M5 between Weston-super-Mare and Clevedon if it were permitted. The next usable bridge over the River Yeo (of Yeo Valley yogurt fame) is several miles inland along a rural single-carriageway A road which is probably less fun to ride on than the M5 shoulder would be.

            Of course, I’d really prefer that they got on and opened a no-through-motor route using the old Weston, Clevedon and Portishead railway route (between Wick St Lawrence and Kingston Seymour) but that’s only been under consideration since before the M5 was built in the 1970s and politicians don’t use the same compulsion powers that they use to force roads though. Moral: still only motorists matter to most politicians here.

  29. anadapter says:

    Given that (from observation) most motorists (not all, but most) tend to assume priority for themselves, how would you get councillors to approve something that doesn’t have clear priorities they can recognise? I’m not intending to be difficult but councillors can be a mightily cautious/risk adverse bunch.

    • anadapter says:

      Not, by the way, to imply that one shouldn’t try or that there’s anything wrong with proper Dutch infrastructure.

  30. I took the chance to try out Perne Rd roundabout. Unfortunately it wasn’t peak time (Fri 2pm), but it was moderately busy. Cars were mainly going north-south and bikes were more evenly spread but with a lot of east-west cycle movements.
    GOOD: Riding on the road really was a very good experience for a busy roundabout. The traffic was noticeably slow and filtered in smoothly. The narrow approach road made it easy to get in position for both left and right turns without conflict. I didn’t have to contend with fast vehicles entering from the junction to my right after I had pulled onto the roundabout. No one tried to crowd, overtake or cut in front of me. I watched other cyclists and everything looked smooth and relaxed for both fast and slow cyclists. Compared with similar roundabouts that I use frequently and the two adjacent roundabouts on Perne Rd that I also tried out, this is really great.
    BAD: Riding on the shared-use path was much, much slower than the road: I frequently had to stop and wait. Very few of the cars approaching the roundabout gave way to the cyclists or pedestrians on the crossings. Not a single car gave way to a pedestrian or cyclist on leaving the roundabout. The path had lots of changes of camber and the patches of tactile paving were at an angle to the natural direction of travel. I needed to look in lots of directions including behind me. Rejoining the carriageway after using the cycle path felt the most risky manoeuver –probably especially so for youngsters who may fail to look or misjudge the situation.
    BUT, ON THE OTHER HAND: I still found this roundabout felt much friendlier to a cyclist-pedestrian than the other roundabouts on the same road.
    An elderly chap, who uses the roundabout regularly, told me that the new design was: ‘fantastic’, ‘best thing they have done’, ‘it’s slowed it right down’, ‘they go round in ones now, they used to go round in twos’. He said that nowadays he uses the cycle path and feels much safer on the crossings than he did before the redesign. He did say that it is a problem telling whether a vehicle is coming off the roundabout or not and this makes it hard to know when it is safe to cross, but he was adamant that, despite this, it is far better than before.
    SURPRISING: I was really struck by huge variety of cyclist behaviours. It was hard to predict from the age, sex, speed or type of bike who would do what. A significant number of people arrived having cycled on the pavements rather than the on-road cycle lanes and also left using the pavement. Some people started on the road and went round the roundabout on the cycle path, pavement or service road. Surprisingly (to me), some did exactly the opposite. Some right-turners turned right onto the cycle path so they didn’t have to go round the roundabout at all; they ended up cycling on the pavement on the ‘wrong’ side of the road until they spotted a gap in the traffic and cycled back onto the road. Some on-road cyclists moved onto the pavement well before the cycle path started. All this indicates a problem that is wider than just the design of the roundabout.

  31. Hinton Cyclist says:

    “I think we are mainly in agreement here. We need someone to build a Dutch roundabout in the UK so the rest can follow.”…

    And what is the barrier to that happening? How about the hysterical criticism that any remotely “Continental” design attracts from the people who say that they want it? Perne Rd should be a stepping stone to that Dutch roundabout but people are wobbling that stepping stone so wildly that no councillor in his right mind is going to take the next step.

    Wake up people and focus on what is important. The shared path wasn’t part of the design, we know that. It was a concession. It isn’t important. There was never a cycle path here before and the arrangement now is much, much better than it was before. In fact, as a user I would say it is brilliant.

    People are timid, they don’t like change, it scares them. You have to lead them through it one step at a time, and you have to reassure them at every step that it is ok, everything is going to be fine. If you want a continental design with a cycle track around the outside then stop frightening the providers and decision makers. If you don’t they will just slip back into their comfort zones – putting up barriers and dismount signs. That is safe, and “mumsnet” love them.

  32. Martin L-S says:

    My (personal) thoughts, again early days, from an informal observation visit last week (12-1pm, not heavy traffic):

    – It is very clear that the roundabout is much calmer and that drivers are using at much more sensible speeds, with both drivers and cyclists able to go through efficiently. There is no longer the racetrack feel. Cycling on the road felt safer and vehicles did not seem minded to overtake me. This is a combination of the tightened geometry of the approaches, and the tightened geometry of the roundabout itself, both of which are a clear improvement.

    – The increase in size of the central area also seems to be working well. Very few vehicles are using the overrun strip, and those that do are almost all larger vehicles for which it is intended. At no point did I see effectively two motor vehicles side-by-side: it is very clearly a single lane.

    – Roughly 50% of cyclists used the road, and the other 50% of bicyclists used the shared-use pavement, at the time we were there.

    – The locations where the County Council’s shared-use crosses over the road entry points to the junctions feel unsatisfactory and unclear. It is not terrible, and it doesn’t feel as inconvenient as much other shared-use elsewhere in the County, but neither a driver nor a cyclist could really be sure whether the cyclist was OK to cross over in front of the car. Roughly a third of times, drivers tentatively gave way while I/someone was waiting; a third of times, drivers seemed to take priority deliberately; and at other times it was not clear. In some cases it felt as if I hadn’t actually been noticed, but of course that is hard to say for sure. The County’s shared-use markings contribute to a vagueness about whether a cyclist is about to turn off onto the shared-use, or whether s/he will continue on the road. I can see that in the absence of an annular ring, the County felt it necessary to add the shared-use to the designer’s design, but I don’t think it is the proper solution; I regard it as a temporary mitigation for the absence of an annular ring.

    – The cycle lanes which lead-in to the roundabout should possibly be extended further to the entrance to the roundabout, though it would be important to avoid the sense of two lanes entering – this would really be just a queue-busting measure in the absence of an annular ring. They leave too early. With an annular ring this hopefully wouldn’t be necessary as I think such a ring would be preferable to using the road.

    – It seems clear to me that there is space for an annular ring, and that it would effectively remove this ambiguity. An annular ring would seem to fit and be pretty circular, though its geometry would perhaps be (only very slightly) compromised by the fact that the central island is larger than ideal because of the cost. It was clear to me that it should be the two-way type. Ideally it should have priority, but even without that, the formalisation and clarity of crossing points that it brings would be a clear improvement over the County’s late shared-use addition. An annular ring would also mean a car’s width exit from the roundabout, i.e. further from the exist point than currently, which again would make a cyclist’s proposed crossing action clearer.

    – I don’t agree with any suggestion that the absence of nearby cycle lane infrastructure is a blocker to adding an annular ring. In any case, there seems to me plenty of space for the road to widen slightly as a cycle lane then join into such a ring. I see this as a small point that should not be contentious.

    So, my tentative feelings at this early stage is pretty-much what I said a year ago: This feels like half a scheme.

    The money has been available to do the geometry side, which I welcome (though I still think it would have been preferable to get the inner island made smaller). A Dutch roundabout would have required such work as one of two changes. The roundabout feels calmer and speeds are more sensible. I think the designer is right that it proves the concept of the geometry – even a week after opening, every motorist I saw seemed to be coping fine. I think as soon as the DfT gives permission for annular rings on roundabouts, that should be fitted as a two-way track, carved out from the pavements, and ideally with priority but that could be trialled. Even without the priority I would probably then use this in preference to the road, but personally I’d strongly prefer priority. An annular ring feels necessary to me to avoid all the ambiguity that the County’s shared-use addition has created.

  33. Pingback: Reusing cycling infrastructure for non-cyclists in Cambridge |

  34. Hinton Cyclist says:

    I live around the corner from this roundabout and I cross it every day. The more that I use it, the more I like it. I hadn’t realised how defensively I rode at this junction until suddenly I no longer had to. Of course I still have to ride defensively across all the other roundabouts in Cambridge, which only goes to emphasise how much BETTER this junction is when compared to the rest.
    And you people are sitting in darkened rooms, behind your computers criticising. Sorry but you REALLY need to get out more and try these things for real.

    I would like to see more of these roundabouts built, and I would like to see them here in Cambridge. I don’t really care whether or not they have “annular rings” because it is so easy to cross without them.

    It seems to me that the biggest obstacle to getting all of our roundabouts improved like this is right here, on this blog and on others like it. I have no idea who you are, or if there is even a real person behind your hash tag. I would never have known that this self-important little blog existed if it hadn’t been belittling an initiative that has made my own life better.

    So, let’s see whether you are just a loud mouthed “keyboard warrior” or whether you are somebody who can genuinely change the world for the better.

    I don’t know how many roundabouts we have in Cambridge, but there are 10 on the inner ring road alone. I could name at least 6 roundabouts that could be converted to a “Continental” layout without any significant technical challenges.

    So, if it really is “as easy as riding a bike” (and it is if you know what you are talking about) then show us. Pick a junction of your choice, re-design it, present it to the council, get it approved, GET IT BUILT. Show us that it genuinely is “as easy as riding a bike”.

    The hard work has been done already, and if you aren’t interested in other peoples’ views you won’t need to bother with consultation. Shall we say 12 months then? Complete and open by the end of October 2015?

    Of course if you can’t get it built by next year, just like they do in the Netherlands, with seamless transitions to high quality but non-existent infrastructure, then I am not sure what that would do for your credibility. What do you think? And if you do get it built then I hope that you are thick skinned, because this is England, not the Netherlands, and people don’t like change here.

    Don’t feel that you are on your own though. Shrodinger’s Cat definitely exists and doesn’t exist all at the same time, but the part of him that exists is clearly skilled in making friends and influencing people. Can I put him forward as your PR consultant. I am sure that any proposal that you put forward will be well received with such diplomacy at your disposal.

    Go ahead, show us that it really is as easy as riding a bike. I am waiting, and I genuinely do want to see you succeed. I just don’t think that you are up to it – not you, and not your cat.

    I will see you back here on 28 October 2015. I look forward to giving you a full and frank report on the positives, and not so positives, of your labour.

    • If I’m understanding you correctly, people have to design roundabouts and get them built in Britain, before they criticise bad design?

      Have you designed and got a roundabout built? If so, which one?

      • Hinton Cyclist says:

        I just want to see if it really is “as easy as riding a bike”. You seem to have the answers, so show us how. Or do you not in fact have the answers?

        As I said I would like to see more of these built because it is great to use. Some of us have campaigned for cycling all of our lives and never achieved improvements anywhere near as positive as this one little junction.

        • I’m just trying to clarify your position here.

          Is it really the case that criticism of design can only legitimately come from those who have actually designed and built roundabouts?

          And if so – have you designed and built a roundabout?

          • Hinton Cyclist says:

            My position? I would like to see more of these roundabouts and you seem like the man to organise it, and of course to get it right.

            • I don’t want to see more of these roundabouts. They are a fudge, a design that presents people cycling with two sub-optimal options rather than one good one, suitable for everyone. People who don’t wish to cycle with large volumes of motor traffic should not be treated like pedestrians, for the fundamental reason that they aren’t pedestrians.

              I suspect we disagree on this rather fundamental point.

              • Hinton Cyclist says:

                Read again. What I am suggesting is that YOU make those decisions and get built what YOU think is appropriate. We are looking for an exemplar junction, as you have described it. You have just explained how EASY it would have been to get it right. I am sure that some people will criticise your decisions, but that is life. If it is a fudge, then it will be because you decide so. Unless of course you are now saying that Dutch roundabout design is fundamentally flawed. You now have 364 days left to demonstrate your credibility.

                It is the “GETTING IT BUILT” bit that is important. We can all dream, and reproduce images from the internet but it doesn’t make my journey to work any safer does it?

                I get the impression that you know as well as anybody here that you will never actually get anything built. It is not, in fact, as easy as riding a bike at all. Criticism is easy – any fool can do that. Making constructive, concrete progress in the thorny arena of cycle safety – well perhaps you still need stabilisers.

                One point of clarification. If my understanding is correct, your suggestion is for “dual provision” is it not? Or are you planning to ultimately remove the right to cycle on the road at roundabouts in the UK? Which is it? Dual provision or removal of choice? I believe that some people get very upset by either suggestion so you need to be clear. You might want to think carefully about your answer.

              • “You now have 364 days left to demonstrate your credibility.”

                It appears we’re back to suggesting that legitimate criticism of design can only come from those who have designed and built roundabouts. Are you really arguing that? It’s fairly ludicrous. Are the only people who can criticise aspects of road schemes, or town centre redevelopments, those who have built roads, or redeveloped town centres? And, to repeat a question you seem to be avoiding, have *you* designed a roundabout? If you haven’t, then by your own logic, you yourself shouldn’t be able to voice opinions – positive or negative – about roundabout design.

                Your last point is confused. An explicit feature of this roundabout’s design is to divide cyclists up into two distinct categories of user, who navigate around the roundabout in different ways. This is what “dual provision” involves; it has nothing to do with retaining a right – hypothetical or otherwise – to cycle on the carriageway, regardless of the quality of the provision away from the carriageway.

                There remains a right to walk on the road in Britain, but we don’t design for walking in the way you describe. We design footways and crossing points that will be used in the same way, by everyone. By analogy, it is entirely possible to design a roundabout with cycling infrastructure that is attractive and suitable for all categories of user. With such a design, the ‘right to the road’ is a moot point. I’ve never felt the need to exercise a “right to the road” in the Netherlands, for example, any more than I wish to exert my right to walk in the road in Britain, when there are good footways along the carriageway.

              • MJ Ray says:

                “Which is it? Dual provision or removal of choice?” False dilemma. I think what aseasyasriding is calling for is PRIMARY PROVISION of cycleways that are good enough that almost all cyclists would choose to use them. A few experienced riders may want to continue to pretend to be motor vehicles (as they are often expected to at the moment) and should be allowed to make that choice, but there should be no features like tight bends or bad junctions in the cycleway that mean they are expected to.

                A “dual network” is the currently-common approach, where when we challenge an obviously crap bit of cycleway, we’re told that it’s OK because experienced cyclists are expected to use the road, because cycleways are designed only for novice/nervous riders – but they’re expected to cope with obstructions and dangerous angles at road junctions? It’s an obvious nonsense position, a Chewbacca defence of most current English cycleways.

              • Indeed, Presenting a black-and-white distinction between “retaining a right to the road” and “dual network” is a false dichotomy.

              • Hinton Cyclist says:

                “cycleways that are good enough that almost all cyclists would choose to use them”.

                Now we are getting somewhere.

                Almost all of the criticism above seems to be directed at the shared path – something that I believe was added because local people asked for it. I agree with much of what “AsEasy” has written about how a circular cycle track could have been incorporated. Of course it could. The designers apparently produced designs showing just that. But would it have been desirable or appropriate?

                Any such path would have taken riders off the road, required them to give way and then put them back in the road just 30m further away. No matter how nicely those transitions are designed that introduces a number of delays and potential conflict points. I would not choose to use it, many other riders would choose not to use it. And before anybody suggests it, yes I have cycled in NL so I do know what they are like.

                Cab Davidson has kindly explained what the consequences can be of choosing to stay in the road when there is a cycle track next to it. You can get abused and people may drive aggressively around you. Mr White Van does not agree with the suggestion elsewhere in this thread that the money spent is “our” money – he pays road tax so when “his” money is spent on a cycle path you should “f**@$ing well use it”.

                So this really is the nub of the question, as far as this particular roundabout is concerned anyway. If the cycle track is safe, useful and attractive to all riders then great, build one. But put in a cycle track that goes nowhere and invites harassment? No thank you. I am sorry but an ideological attachment to all things “Dutch” is not a good reason.

                But this is just one roundabout. There are plenty more in Cambridge where a cycle track would be an obvious accessory.

              • MJ Ray says:

                The cycle-tracked design doesn’t introduce conflict points. It just moves them around a bit. Conflict is inevitable in any junction where user paths cross.

                I get abused at points where there is no cycleway nearby. Idiots will always be idiots. I’d still prefer decent cycleways so I’m not at the mercy of whether road-ragers can still drive straight quite so much.

            • Can you explain why you’d like to see more of these roundabouts rather than more genuinely ‘Dutch’ style roundabouts that give continuity and priority for cyclists? Or, in other words, if here and now in Cambridge, Britain’s cycling capital, we don’t hold out for gold standard infrastructure, then where and when do you propose UK cyclists should do so? Or, instead, do you maintain that cyclists in the UK deserve that money earmarked for our benefit should continue to be spent on not quite good enough facilities?

              • Hinton Cyclist says:

                I will keep referring you back to what I have ACTUALLY said. Please read before reacting. I use this roundabout. I think it is excellent based on my experience. I would like to see more built like it. I really don’t mind whether or not it has an annular cycle lane that doesn’t connect to any other infrastructure provided that nobody tries to force me to use it – I suspect that such an isolated feature would quickly find its way onto the “crap cycle lanes” website though.
                From “As Easy’s” response, I conclude that what you are proposing is “dual provision”. Hmmm that has come in for a lot of stick recently. Well it will be interesting to see whether public reaction is any more favourable towards your interpretation of “dual provision” than it is to this example – which I believe you have already reported was not originally designed to have dual provision at all.

              • Phil Jones says:

                But just to make the point (as someone who’s designed more roundabouts than I care to remember) some folk here who are arguing most strongly that this design isn’t good enough also aren’t proposing a roundabout that gives priority to cyclists.

        • > Some of us have campaigned for cycling all of our lives and never achieved improvements anywhere near as positive as this one little junction.

          Based on your comments here, I find that both entirely credible, and no evidence that the “improvement” at this junction is measurable.

          • Hinton Cyclist says:

            Err… from other peoples’ feedback above:

            “Riding on the road really was a very good experience for a busy roundabout”

            “I still found this roundabout felt much friendlier to a cyclist-pedestrian than the other roundabouts on the same road.
            An elderly chap, who uses the roundabout regularly, told me that the new design was: ‘fantastic’, ‘best thing they have done’, ‘it’s slowed it right down’, ‘they go round in ones now, they used to go round in twos’. He said that nowadays he uses the cycle path and feels much safer on the crossings than he did before the redesign.”

            “It is very clear that the roundabout is much calmer and that drivers are using at much more sensible speeds, with both drivers and cyclists able to go through efficiently. There is no longer the racetrack feel. Cycling on the road felt safer and vehicles did not seem minded to overtake me. This is a combination of the tightened geometry of the approaches, and the tightened geometry of the roundabout itself, both of which are a clear improvement.”

            What improvements aren’t you seeing? I believe that the County Council have taken speed surveys before and after, and are videoing the traffic flow.

      • Biker1 says:

        I don’t think that was what was said, it was more like, critcising a design as bad or good from the comfort of your armchair, without actually getting out and trying it is flawed. In fact it makes your blog less convincing anyone can sit and complain about things they have never witnessed, 90% of posts on the internet seem to be about that.

        When the Cambridge News publicises a story on cycling I look on line to see how many comments are on, and almost without fail before 5 are posted it falls into a personal attack on each other, with the story getting lost in the fray.

        If you actually know better, then be part of the solution; not an arm chair warrior. Send in a design, or even an idea to the county, this surely is what the idea of the big society was about, people driven schemes.

        • What specific aspect of my criticism actually relies upon me visiting the roundabout?

          • Biker1 says:

            If you were going to critique a book you would read it, a restaurant you would eat there. A film you would see it, these are tangible things you have experience of and can talk form some knowledge. Looking at a drawing and making sweeping assumptions from it, is like reading an article about a new drink and then describing it’s taste.

            There is little value in this article unless it is balanced and based upon at least some first hand knowledge. it is a bit unfortunate that it isn’t but then a quick look at your other blog entries suggest its about a negative view, no glass half full here. I suspect sadly that like many blogs it’s all about the blog rather than a real critique of cycle infrastructure.

            There is a reason why law courts do not accept hearsay as evidence!

            But please, prove me wrong?

            • What if the new drink was made with human urine? Would I have to drink it to tell you it was awful?

            • Biker1 says:

              This is silly reasoning no one would market a drink made of poison anymore than build a roundabout that was dangerous. However you are unable to describe either from direct experience. That is my point.
              It,s not that your opinion is wrong but that you have no way to test it.

              • What specific element of my criticism here are you referring to? Please quote a passage.

              • Biker1 says:

                You don’t need me to do what many others have already done in these responses.

                But what evidence have you that the hierarchy of provision is wrong. Why is it still being used by groups like Sustrans in their latest work?

                You make big thing about it, what is your experience using it? Or is it just that others have criticised it so it’s fair game?

              • The Hierarchy of Provision doesn’t feature in Sustrans’ latest guidance, their Handbook for Cycle-Friendy Design, April 2014. Nor does it feature in TfL’s London Cycle Design Standards. It’s quite clearly being discarded, and replaced with a network-based approach.

                It’s a nice idea in principle, but totally wooly in practice, and allows councils/designers to get away with fudges. I’ve written about the flaws of the HoP many times on this blog – you can search for any posts in the sidebar.

              • Biker1 says:

                This is where we will have to agree to disagree, Whilst the hierarchy doesnt feature as a drawing, it is clearly integrated into the text the only part that doesnt feature is reduce traffic, an ellement that has failed badly due to the complexity of doing this.

                I agree that looking at a network when developing schemes is good common sense, the problem is it doesnt work as funding is for schemes, until that changes it will be be lip service.
                Cycling for London is a draft document and far more complicated than it needs to be, they however have just taken the Sustrans methodology and added it to their document, to argue that they have abandoned the hierarchy is not correct they have simply like Sustrans, encompased it into their advice.

    • inge says:

      HUH??? Non-exsistent infrastructure? You mean the Netherlands do not have a comprehensive grid of high quality infrastructure? BTW I love cats so much more than human fossils gathering dust from times gone by and feeling very virtuous about it.
      Ga toch fietsen!

      • Hinton Cyclist says:

        No, I mean that the roads connecting this roundabout have non-existent infrastructure. It is not in the Netherlands.

        • Hinton Cyclist, I’m rather at a loss to get your angle here.

          I’ve ridden this roundabout maybe a dozen times now. Its dreadful.

          If I ride on the road I’ve now got motorists coming closer than they used to because of the shape of the entry to it – and half of the times I’ve used it I’ve found motorists to be way more aggressive than they were previously, I’ve now had two gesticulating angrily at the pavement they want me to be on.

          This cost best part of half a million quid. From cycling budgets. To trivially change how motorists approach the roundabout, re-surface motorist space, upgrade the pavements slightly and legalise the pavement riding that was going on anyway. Bluntly, for the cost, very little was done for cycling – it remains fast and dangerous as motorists still try to maintain a ‘racing line’ through it, with very little gain for us.

          Bluntly, isn’t this ripping money out of the cycling budget to give us very, very little and leverage a better surface for motorists? Why are you happy with that?

          You’ve seen precisely the kind of design that would be better for cyclists – you’re asking for what else, precisely?

          I must also ask, why do you believe that being pro-infrastructure means being against retaining our right to remain on the road? There is no implication, in any way, at any time, that providing good quality infrastructure means we should be prohibited from using the road. Where do you get this from?

          • Hinton Cyclist says:

            Are you sure we are talking about the same roundabout? If it is the same roundabout, and the same traffic, then the only difference is you and me. What are you doing to generate such hostility that I apparently am not? Have you considered getting some cycle training because reading between the lines you might want to re-consider your road positioning.

            • Cab Davidson says:

              Yeah, you don’t get to hide behind amonymity AND insult me. Identify yourself, then we can talk further. Until then your comment above identifies you as a cyclist hater – nothing more.

              • Hinton Cyclist says:

                No insult intended, just a helpful observation. You can carry on being angry and making others angry if you prefer that approach.

                If you want to know who I am, that is easy. I am the person who cycles across this roundabout without getting abused or run off the road. If all of the above comments are right it should be easy to work out which one is me. Of course if it turns out that lots of people cycle trouble free through this junction then I might be harder to identify.

                Oops, did I say “cycles across” how silly of me, I am not sure how to reconcile that with my new status as a “cyclist hater” – or is that slang for “someone who doesn’t agree with me”?

              • MJ Ray says:

                Come on folks, post some videos with commentary to settle this. It’s possible that you might both be correct and just encountering different conditions on the roundabout, or you might have different expectations/standards/opinions/whatever. It might be months before me and my camera will be in that part of Cambridge, so I’d really appreciate seeing it in action, like RadWagon’s “before” videos.

          • Biker1 says:

            Now here is the rub, I have ridden it about a dozen times and I think it is okay, I won’t go so far to say its great, but its better than it was. Traffic is slower, I can take a dominant path without fear of a high speed motorist cutting me up, (not a bad motorist who doesn’t care) because there seems to be room, I can chose to take the off road route.

            It has to be cobbled into an already poor road system so it is never going to be all things to all people.

            It seems that Hinton cyclist has a view that is being heavily criticised because he or she dares to be different. As is Alisdair Massie for putting forward the concept, despite him making it clear that this is not what was built

            The point is, unless you understand the current design, its background and its design limitations it is difficult to be fairly critical. Though it is easy to be so.

            The article above provides plenty of biased criticism and even provides an alternative solution (a good thing) that does not consider the community who lives there. Gardens are lost, crossings are on the road rather than the pavement you cannot just plonk a design into an area and say look what we could have done when that design is clearly from elsewhere and doesn’t fit.

            None the less it is a thought provoking piece, it is a pity that its message is lost in aggression and diatribe against those who don’t agree, leading to personal comments that suck the life out of good discussion.

            • MJ Ray says:

              How would gardens be lost? There’s an illustration of how it would fit on one post on here. It seems like a better design wasn’t used because of a cost-cutting refusal to change a culvert.

  35. anadapter says:

    Hinton Cyclist. A question if I may. Have you ever designed a roundabout and if so, which ones?

  36. Hinton Cyclist says:

    363 days to go. This is exciting – better than Christmas! “AsEasy” do you think that you could add one of those countdown widgets to your home page? You could even re-name this blog “AsEasyAsDesigningARoundabout”.

    Have you selected a suitable intersection yet? I can help you with some suggestions if you like. As I said, there are 10 roundabouts on our inner ring road alone. Let’s do this, let’s build a Dutch roundabout with a fully segregated cycle track here in the UK, in Cambridge – or somewhere else if you prefer, but Cambridge has shown a will and a desire to stick their necks out and build something different.

    So how about it? Are you ready to make a difference? Can you show us how easy it really is, or are you the sort who just stands on the sidelines and criticises?

    For what it’s worth I actually think that your blog is quite good and makes some quite valid points – it just lacks any positive focus.

    • I am more than happy to praise good design. You can find me doing this in many places on this blog.

      But at the same time I will continue to criticise bad design, because it’s constructive. Pointing out mistakes – and getting people to acknowledge them – is the best way of avoiding those mistakes being made in the future.

      I’m still trying to establish whether you have designed and built a roundabout yourself. If you haven’t, it’s not at all clear to me why you think your opinion – positive or negative – should hold any more weight than mine.

      • Hinton Cyclist says:

        Well I will leave you to speculate on that one. I am not in a competition as to whose opinion holds the most weight. I am hoping to get Britain’s road infrastructure more people friendly though, so how about that roundabout? Can you get one built at a location and to a design of your choosing? The clock is ticking…. As easy as building a roundabout?

        • “I am hoping to get Britain’s road infrastructure more people friendly though”

          So – I expect – are thousands of ordinary Britons. Do they all have to get roundabouts designed and built before they voice opinions?

          • Hinton Cyclist says:

            Thousands of ordinary Britons… hmm just a small minority then. But… If thousands of people each got a roundabout converted to Dutch geometry that would make a very positive improvement to our highways. Excellent suggestion – put it up on your blog, “Adopt a roundabout”. I like your thinking. Now show people how!

            I don’t wish to seem picky, but I believe that you have already voiced your opinion. If I am right in my reading of the situation then you haven’t actually achieved any tangible improvements in our streets yourself. So I think you have answered your own question. That is the joy of having free speech.

            • That Jim says:

              But Mark has achieved something. He has brought dross like this to a far wider audience. In the same way that David Hembrow, Mark Wagenbuur et al consistently open our eyes to things that actually do work whilst the British scrabble around for a convoluted, diluted ‘Dutch Style’ design that’s as Dutch as Cheddar and appeases no-one. Mark [Treasure] has also consistently shown built examples of what works in a range of different contexts. So, what makes your opinion so important over his (again)?

              And what makes you think the people commenting here haven’t been lobbying, or campaigning or trying to get things done?

              • Hinton Cyclist says:

                As I said, it is not a competition. My eyes were already open. “Shown… said…” I can’t get to work on those. I would like to see “built”. I am not getting much of a feeling that any of those named above have anything to offer on that front, and that seems to be where we all struggle. We all know what is needed, or maybe you don’t, I am pretty sure that I do. How do we get it built? I can’t ride to work on the hot air generated in the blogosphere.

              • Are you still persisting with the line that only people who design and build roundabouts can comment on their design? It’s very silly, as many people have pointed out to you.

    • michael says:

      I can’t make any sense of your attitude.

      In this world, in order to get something done the way one thinks they should be done, one has to attain some measure of political power, and to persuade people to agree it would be better to do things that way.

      Pointing out the flaws in the ways things are currently done is a necessary step towards that. Simply sitting back and uncritically applauding everything currently done, even if you don’t think its very good, isn’t going to achieve much.

      If people were free to go and build their own roundabouts wherever they wanted your argument might make some sense, but as we live in this world not some sort of anarchist dreamland, I can’t make head-nor-tail of what you are attempting to say.

      • Hinton Cyclist says:

        Excellent, a man who knows how to get things done. I sense that “AsEasy” is struggling with that part so perhaps you could help him.

        Our roundabout… what strategy do you suggest to get a real, live Dutch roundabout, with a fully segregated cycle track, built in the UK in the next 363 days. Anarchy optional but not necessarily required – I was thinking of a more conventional route involving campaigning, lobbying, public consultation etc but maybe I am not thinking radically enough.

        As you say “we live in this world”, England if I am not mistaken. The conventional approach usually implies a degree of listening to counter views and compromise in order to get the job done. Is this audience is ready for listening and compromise?

        It seems to me that all of this idealism is fine and dandy, but nobody has ever actually managed to get anything like this built in the uk. Lovely though it is swapping stories with you guys it doesn’t make my journey to work or my kids’ journey to school any quicker or safer. So, prove us cynics wrong. Show that it is “as easy as riding a bike” to make the world a better place – get a real, Dutch roundabout built here in the UK.

        This is what I am attempting to say. As people are having trouble understanding my choice of words, I am going to shamelessly plagiarise someone else’s:
        “I think we are mainly in agreement here. We need someone to build a Dutch roundabout in the UK so the rest can follow.”… Show us how it is done.

      • Biker1 says:

        Michael, pointiing out the flaws without acknowleging the positives is counterproductive. If you think there is a problem then you must have an idea for a solution. State it don’t just say “well thats crap”

  37. That Jim says:

    So, Hinton Cyclist, what do you do that will enable to to create shovel ready schemes. You state that Mark is just hot-air, (despite being chair of a campaign group that actively lobbies and campaigns for improvement with examples that have had proven success). So who are you, what do you do and what can us mere mortals do to enable you to do stuff other than consistently show examples that exist in the built environment? I’ll give you 365 days to come up with a credible answer.

    Or, better still, seeing as you live so close to this ‘If This is Dutch Style, I’m a Dutchman’ roundabout, please, please run a tape measure around the geometry, give us a rough, scanned sketch and I’m sure there are people here that would gladly run something better up on Sketchup or similar. That’s if you don’t know the details already.

  38. Hinton Cyclist says:

    If it is just talk on the blog then it is just hot air. Or am I missing something? So my question is how do you get this built? Nobody here seems to want to answer that. Or do you believe that it is being answered? I can’t ride to work on a sketchup model and my children can happily do that bit. What we are still missing is the bit where it gets built. Now… do you have something to offer?

    • That Jim says:

      You seem to be evading an awful lot; I don’t think anyone here works for a construction company in the Cambridge area, nor is responsible for the (now criminally depleted) cycling budget. Yet I’ve stated that there are people here that aren’t from the Cambridge area that would be happy to give you everything you need to approach your local Councillors/MP to get something done, be is Design guidance or help with campaigning etc.

      Most blogs can be accused of being ‘hot-air’, but here are some facts; A roundabout has been built. It is clearly not good enough. Mark has written on his blog why he personally doesn’t think it is good enough and what the designers could have done in their approach sourcing examples of what has worked. Fair enough? So why are you getting your knickers in such a twist? Why aren’t you over at ‘A View from the Cycle Path’ berating David Hembrow for not actually being responsible for the transformation of Assen since the 1970’s and merely showing us all stuff that works? I mean, how lazy is he?!!🙂

      So, once again, who are you and what do you do professionally to allow us all to help you? You now have just under 365 days remaining to answer and do hurry up – I can’t just ride to work on people being over-sensitive about crap design.

    • What do *you* do? I can’t ride to work on your hot air either.

      It seems you’re quite happy to criticise others for allegedly not achieving anything, without telling us anything about what you do.

  39. Cab Davidson says:

    Like I said, Hinton Cyclist – you don’t get to insult me from a cowardly position of anonymity and then demand responses. I’ll add to the charge of cowardice one of disturbing hubris – and you, sir(?) are evidently in the lowest class of cyclist haters. Type 6 – ‘Cyclist Myself’.

    • Biker1 says:

      So you respond to percieved insult with a tit for tat approach. Your post is not much more than Cyber Bullying whilst quoting your own article!

  40. Hinton Cyclist says:

    Ah… so much anger at the suggestion that we get something built rather than just complaining.

    I am wondering what is the aim of your cycle campaign. If it isn’t to get high quality designs built then I am wondering what the point of it is.

    • That Jim says:

      …and we’re all wondering why you can’t answer the simple questions put to you. I’m not angry, just wondering why you’re being so coy?

  41. Hinton Cyclist says:

    Keep wondering.

  42. Hinton Cyclist says:

    Er… I hadn’t realised that “AsEasy” and “ThatJim” were your given names. I mistakenly thought they were nicknames. It is a good thing that we have cleared up that confusion. I am Hint to my friends, pleased to meet you.

    I guess that you aren’t really reading what has been said are you? A roundabout has been re-built, it has made quite an improvement to my journey, a view that is reflected in the assessment of a number of other people. You (“AsEasy”) have written a critique that seems somewhat unbalanced to me. You are entitled to your own views, even if you have not tried it. We have all (I think) agreed that it would be really great to get a real, Dutch roundabout (no compromises) built. I have challenged you, as a vocal critic of what was built, to get one built. As the chair of a cycling campaign that should put you in a much stronger position than most of us.

    Now, what exactly is it in the above that is making you so upset? Isn’t that what cycle campaigning is about?

    • We think the roundabout is poor, and have said so. You think it’s good.

      Beyond that, I fail to see the point of irrelevant guff about building roundabouts, especially in the context of you refusing to reveal what it you have achieved.

  43. Hinton Cyclist says:

    The point is that, that is the point of cycle campaigning – getting stuff built / changed / improved. You are the chair if a cycling campaign, what do you think that the point of campaigning is?

  44. Hinton Cyclist says:

    I try to get stuff built, problems removed, facilities improved. That’s campaigning.

    • Well, that’s exactly what I do too. So the only issue here appears to be a disagreement over the suitability of this particular roundabout’s design, no?

      • Hinton Cyclist says:

        The disagreement is over whether, how and where to try and move this forward a stage – get the next one built, with a segregated cycle path much as you have described, in a location where it will be useful and all types of cyclist will want to use it – even people like me.

        My answers: 1.Yes, 2.No idea, 3.Cambridge – I have several suggestions.

  45. Hinton Cyclist says:

    As Easy, it really doesn’t hurt to say and do something positive rather than sitting back and saying “no”, “not”, “rubbish”. That just pushes people back into their bunkers and all of your roundabouts will continue to be urban race tracks. I know that you have said that you praise good design but that really doesn’t come across in your blog or in your comments above.

    Practice after me. “Great idea Hint, who do we know who is brave enough to get a Dutch roundabout built? Let me send out some feelers”

    Now doesn’t that feel better already?

    • You plainly have no idea what I do, who I talk to, and what I write about, and have instead made assumptions about me based on the sole fact I don’t like roundabouts, like this one, that force people to cycle on footways.

      • Hinton Cyclist says:

        “like this one, that force people to cycle on footways” ????????????????????

        I will be cycling through this roundabout really quite soon, as I do twice a day. Who or what do you think is going to force me to use the footway? Come up and try it, bring an “open mind”.

        • “People” is more than just you.

          • Hinton Cyclist says:

            “People” is more than me. Indeed. These people too apparently. Not my words:

            “Riding on the road really was a very good experience for a busy roundabout”

            “I still found this roundabout felt much friendlier to a cyclist-pedestrian than the other roundabouts on the same road.
            An elderly chap, who uses the roundabout regularly, told me that the new design was: ‘fantastic’, ‘best thing they have done’, ‘it’s slowed it right down’, ‘they go round in ones now, they used to go round in twos’. He said that nowadays he uses the cycle path and feels much safer on the crossings than he did before the redesign.”

            “It is very clear that the roundabout is much calmer and that drivers are using at much more sensible speeds, with both drivers and cyclists able to go through efficiently. There is no longer the racetrack feel. Cycling on the road felt safer and vehicles did not seem minded to overtake me. This is a combination of the tightened geometry of the approaches, and the tightened geometry of the roundabout itself, both of which are a clear improvement.”

            • You’re not actually engaging with my point that a sizeable majority of the population do not want to cycle on busy roundabouts. These are the people this roundabout design forces onto footways.

      • Phil Jones says:

        Forgive me for chipping in here, but this layout doesn’t force people onto footways, does it? It offers two choices, and while I understand that you don’t regard either of them as acceptable, that fact is undeniable.

        What is also true is that the type of design you propose (see photo in your original post) would make it very difficult to remain on carriageway and so remove that choice. Fine, you say, if the quality of off carriageway provision is so good that no rational person would want to stay on carriageway. But without priority crossings, you will be reducing directness (in terms of time) for current cyclists. That’s never going to be an easy sell, as Hinton Cyclist plainly demonstrates.

        • Biker1 says:

          Well Said sir!

        • I’d disagree, Phil. This design does force people onto footways – all those people who don’t particularly like cycling on a roundabout carrying ~20,000 vehicles a day. Which, at a fair guess, is a sizeable majority of the population.

          As I think I’ve tried to make clear in my other post, the issue of priority is a negligible one compared to designing the roundabout properly. A well-designed roundabout with priority will look virtually identical to one without priority. Decisions can be made at a local level about the acceptable trade-off between convenience and safety (for instance, priority on some arms, but not on others).

          • Biker1 says:

            Priority on some arms and not on others would lead to confusion and a greater risk of accidents in a population where many users at this location (schoolchildren and older people from the OAP home 50m away) have little experience and may not expect this to change half way round the roundabout.

            • Junctions with different priority on the arms are common in the Netherlands, and are used by OAPs and children, without difficulty. This is silly.

              • Phil Jones says:

                That’s very interesting – it chimes with the idea that both Tom Bailey and I came to separately way back up this page – ie that it may be acceptable to have priority on some arms and not others. I’ve not seen that in the Netherlands, so some pictures and examples would be very helpful. A positive outcome to all this discussion!

                On the forcing point, it’s a bit moot I guess. I see your point that people who don’t feel comfortable on the carriageway have to use a shared footway, but those people who do clearly aren’t forced to do so.

              • There’s this example in Amsterdam.

                Not a roundabout – but the crossings are different. There’s priority for cycles on the N-S arms, but not on the E-W arms.

        • MJ Ray says:

          Cyclists effectively don’t have priority at any junction at the moment, thanks to the poor state of traffic policing and motorists pulling out in front with impunity. I feel it would be an improvement to have an orbital cycle track with perpendicular crossings where riders can at least see the driver who may try to drive through them a bit more easily.

  46. Biker1 says:

    You have lost the point of the discussion by becoming personal and insulting to each other. That is no way to prove a point.

    How about getting back on track.

  47. Hinton Cyclist says:

    362 days to go. How is the planning going “As Easy”?

    Only kidding. This dialogue has gone far beyond the possibility of getting a beneficial outcome for anyone so I will go in search of more constructive avenues.

    • That Jim says:

      Sure you will🙂 I’m sure we can all bask in your success if you just tell us what this success is.

      So, once again, who are you and what do you do professionally to allow us all to help you? You now have just under 364 days remaining to answer and do hurry up – I can’t just ride to work on people being over-sensitive about crap design.

      • Biker1 says:

        That Jim that negative approach just about closes this off. If you cant persuade by good argument then insult and be offesnsive.

        • That Jim says:

          A roundabout has been built. It is clearly not good enough. Mark has written on his blog why he personally doesn’t think it is good enough and what the designers could have done in their approach sourcing examples of what has worked. Fair enough?

          [Yet again] I’ve stated that there are people here that aren’t from the Cambridge area (myself included) that would do our best to provide everything we could for local people to approach their local Councillors/MP to get something done, be it Design guidance or help with campaigning etc.

          If that’s not positive, I don’t know what is. Telling people that the conversation is ‘closed off’ and that they are resorting to insult or being offence just because you don’t agree to claim some sort of superior/moral higher ground is not good enough.

          • Biker1 says:

            That Jim -Thank you for your kind offer of supporting local people. These are of course the local people on this blog arguing that they think the roundabout seems to be working. The same ones you are abusing and berating for daring to suggest that it seems to be more succesful than before?

            This is Cambridge, we are local, we do have a bit of experience cycling, and have a very active cycle campaign one of the largest (outside London) and most active in the country; they do sterling work. These are people that actually know the area and work hard to ensure that we move forward rather than in reverse.

            They live in the real world, one where money does not grow on trees, where politics hold back progress more than limited design.

            • That Jim says:

              Two people are saying that it works. Including yourself. I don’t think the parents of the 12 year old that got hit there recently would agree with you.

              A design has been implemented. Why can’t people have an opinion on how it could have been better?

              And why do you keep saying that having an opinion means ‘abusing’ or ‘berating’, just because those opinions are different from yours? For someone so supposedly proud of this design, why are you playing the defensive victim card all the time.

              The Netherlands is also in the real world. Good design is in the real world. Cambridge Cycling Campaign is aware of this (and I know many of them personally).

              And why campaign for mediocrity?

              • Biker1 says:

                Counting is not a strong point either then? Neither is accuracy?, neither I nor the several others, including the Cambridge campaign said the design was as good as it could have been, but that it works. It was you who used words like crap et al.

                Most of those who berate it insist on using real world examples such as build a nuclear missile, or drink urine and poison, come closet to planet earth use real life examples and you may get a better reception from your peers Sue Davies has made this clear below.

                But I have bothered to answer these purile comments a mistake I won’t repeat

              • The comments were specifically in reference to your argument that the roundabout had to be ridden on before opinions could be voiced about it.

                This opened for consultation today. Do I have to wait for it to be built, attempt to cycle on it, before I make comments about how poor it is?

  48. Dan B says:

    ^^^^^^^^^^ WTF??!?!
    Several points:
    1. It is not necessary to do something yourself before criticising/discussing how /why/that others do it. I’ve never built a nuclear missile, but it is reasonable to suggest that you don’t make one either. When people first went into space nobody had done so before. Who was allowed to discuss the project?

    2. You don’t decide not to build a railway because there aren’t any stations. Not building high-quality infrastructure because there’s no high-quality infrastructure to link it to is self-defeating. The Dutch started somewhere, linked to that, extended the provision, linked to other provision, improved what had been built, extended provision…… That’s how every network happens.

    3. Attacking others for wanting better provision that everyone (including you!) can use is weird.

    4. Using your own feelings and experiences as ‘normal for everyone’ isn’t correct for anyone to do. It’s great that you (Hinton Cyclist) find this roundabout better than before. However, that does not mean that everyone else will, or that it will encourage others to cycle (which is essentially the point of the blog, and cycle campaigning in general). For mass cycling to happen we need infrastructure that EVERYONE feels safe to use – you included. This clearly doesn’t do that, and it’s by design.

    5. Duel provision is confusing for everyone and dangerous for cyclists. “Get off the road.” “Get off the pavement.” These things are shouted at riders every day by drivers and pedestrians, at people cycling perfectly legally.

    • michael says:

      “Well, yes, the surgeon amputated the wrong leg, but,you really can’t complain about it till you’ve performed some major surgery yourself, can you?”

  49. Sue Davies says:

    I have followed this dialogue with concern. I don’t know anything about roundabout design, I am interested in the interactions between people.
    Looking from the outside, everybody here says that they want the same thing, and yet you are at each other’s throats over a minor technical disagreement. Some people have tried the roundabout and liked it. Some people have tried it and not liked it. Some people refuse to contemplate trying it because in their view it is “wrong”.
    It is interesting that the people most vehemently “anti” will not put their view to the test.
    It is interesting that people who insist theirs is the solution “for everyone” will not tolerate opinions “from everyone”.
    What worries me is how people are treated if they disagree with the author’s line. That treatment is clear cyber-bullying.
    If you ask ordinary people to describe cycling campaigners then the words “loud”, “aggressive”, “inflexible”, “intolerant”, “single issue” come up regularly. I have recently heard the description “Cycling Taliban” used to describe the more extreme end of the cycling spectrum. I now understand why.
    It really concerns me that somebody who is so intolerant of views different to his own is the chair of a cycling campaign. It reinforces the negative stereotype that people already have of us. Can I ask which campaign that is? The job of a chair is to promote the range of views of its members. It is not to use the campaign as a platform to voice his own views, to the exclusion of others.
    I also wonder what effect such an aggressive, inflexible attitude has when dealing with Councils. I can see why you have never managed any tangible improvements.

    • anadapter says:

      Who is this aimed at Sue?

    • Sue, if I wasn’t tolerating other opinions, comments would not be appearing here.

      There’s plainly disagreement about the quality and effectiveness of this roundabout. It’s not particularly helpful to label people who hold one opinion inflexible and intolerant – precisely the same could be said about people who hold the other opinion, no?

    • michael says:

      “What worries me is how people are treated if they disagree with the author’s line. That treatment is clear cyber-bullying.”

      I think that’s a bit questionable, to be honest, or at least, lacking in specifics.

      What seems to happen _a lot_ with blogs that have an agenda or are pushing a particular line, is that someone turns up and disagrees with that line, but in an aggressive or rude way…so its hardly surprising when the argument proceeds to get progressively more heated.

      Insisting someone has to build their own roundabout before being able to express criticisms of an existing one is just daft – where would one expect a discussion to go after that? “364 days to go…” and the like is not really a sign of someone desperate for a calm rational discussion, is it? Its someone turning up who is already a bit wound-up, so of course its not going to go well.

      As for labels like “cycling Taliban” – do you honestly see no contradiction between throwing phrases like that around and then complaining about people being rude?

      As for this roundabout – I don’t know what its like to cycle round on the road – it might be better than it was before, opinions seem to vary – but I know I don’t think much of shared-use cycle paths (particularly as a pedestrian), and having cars allowed to park on them makes them even worse.

      As both a cyclist and a pedestrian I want decent dedicated infrastructure – not sure why that makes me an Afghan fanatic, when motorists can expect the same without any such label being applied to them.

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  53. P Baskàs says:

    If I designed a botched roundabout as this one is, I’d be quite ashamed.

    The “it’s still better than before” reasoning does not hold. Smoking 10 cigarettes a day is clearly better than smoking 20, as any layman can understand by themselves.

    Yet, in 2015, smoking less is not an appropriate therapy to address the problem in the first place. Yes, guidelines are obsolete, but building intrinsically dangerous junctions should be a criminal offence, no more no less. Transport planners’ only concern is CAPACITY, at the expense of SAFETY. And this happens in Britain, probably the country most obsessed with safety.

    People DIE on the roads by the thousands, because this country builds motorways instead of normal streets, roads, and boulevards.

    I know of no other country of comparable wealth, that is still so incapable of building decent infrastructure to safeguard the SAFETY of its people (and not the CAPACITY of its damn roundabouts).

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