Cyclist’s Safety and Roundabouts with a Wide Approach

Oceanside Promenade and Ocean Reef Road, Mullaoo

Intersection of Oceanside Promenade and Ocean Reef Road, Mullaoo

Part of my regular commute northbound to Joondalup involves my riding through the intersection of Oceanside Promenade and Ocean Reef Road, Mullaoo.  The approach to this roundabout for northbound cyclists is via a rather wide approach which makes “claiming the lane” more difficult. In some ways I have been “lucky” at this roundabout as I turn left on Ocean Reef Road however if I was going right I suspect that on some days I wouldn’t be so “lucky.”

My latest experience with this roundabout can be seen from the following video. I thought I had claimed the lane but as you can see clearly not. So, here I am putting it out there for advice on how best to handle these sorts of wide approaches to roundabouts. For some reason this roundabout is much worse than a similar wide roundabout approach at the intersection of Northshore Drive and Whitfords Avenue, Hillarys as when I am southbound claiming the lane here generally results in motorists being safe and considerate.

Northshore Drive and Whitfords Avenue, Hillarys

Intersection of Northshore Drive and Whitfords Avenue, Hillarys

Also if anyone can clarify the legal side of things as well that would be appreciated. For example in this video, the first motorist clearly broke the law crossing the double white lines, but is the pass by the Nu-Style Lighting employee unlawful? It was very scary having the van coming pass like that, and for what a second or two time saving?

Please share your thoughts below in the comments section. Do I need to ride wider than I am?

2 Responses to Cyclist’s Safety and Roundabouts with a Wide Approach

  1. BicycleJason 15 June 2013 at 3:21 AM #

    I find that roundabouts are often a difficult meeting point between bicycles and cars. The main issue I find (apart from the well known windscreen pillar blind spot) is that a bicycle does not need to slow when travelling straight across (even if riding sticking to the left hand side) whereas a car invariably will have to brake a fair amount. This is dangerous when a car driver decides to go side by side with a cyclist across the roundabout. A car will normally cut each apex in order to go through at a certain speed. However, quite often a driver will not realise that they are not going to clear a bicycle in a roundabout as they fail to anticipate that the cyclist will not be slowing down at all. Consequently the driver either cuts in on the cyclist as he/she exits on the apex or is forced to turn more sharply than they are anticipating as they leave. My answer is to emphatically claim the lane, regardless of how wide the approach is, because the danger is not generally in the approach which the driver may anticipate, but the travel through and out. I think you should go as wide as is necessary.
    I am never bothered by vehicles crossing a solid white line to pass me. I’d rather they did that than stayed within the line and came close.

    • Andrew Priest 15 June 2013 at 6:51 AM #

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think you have it pretty well summed up and I will make sure I ride wider and more emphatically claim the lane.

      With regards to the crossing the double white line, I wasn’t bothered by it (just getting in early before it got raised 🙂 ) as long as it does not result in close or worse cut-in when the driver suddenly misjudges the timing. I guess I just don’t get the MGIF attitude.

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