High rate of crashes at roundabouts involving cyclists may be reduced with careful attention to conflict paths
Victoria has a high rate of cyclist involvement in crashes at roundabouts (whole state- 24%; inner suburban- 49%). Many researchers have identified that cyclists circulating on the outer edge or in circulating bicycle lanes may contribute to crashes. The predominant crash type is entering drivers striking circulating cyclists. Video research and post-crash interviews have suggested the relevance of the ?looked but failed to see? (LBFTS) phenomenon, where drivers look towards cyclists (or motor-cyclists) but do not see them. All 2005-2009 crashes at roundabouts in Victoria are analysed based on crash type and region. 82% were entering-circulating crashes - consistent with the findings of others. 130 commuter cyclists were observed negotiating roundabouts, with regard to lane positioning. Only five entered from the middle of driving lanes and none remained there through the roundabout. Predominant behaviours were: 62% ?straight-lining? from kerbside to near the island, then back to kerbside - allowing highest speeds to be maintained; and 32% ?edge-riding? - riding near the outer edge from entry to exit. It is argued that these cyclist behaviours increase crash risk by creating a more complex conflict environment, in which the cyclist may not be seen by drivers scanning only where cars would be located. Assuming that cyclists maximise their visibility by riding where cars would be, strategies are suggested to encourage cyclists to move to primary position prior to roundabout entries and remain there: bicycle logos to cue cyclists to merge to primary position and ride through roundabouts in the middle of lanes, and to warn drivers that cyclists will be there; and slowing devices for cars to assist safe merging with cyclists. Examples of implementation are provided.