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Letter: Those Considering the London Road Scheme Should Be Aware of Dutch Roundabout Proposal

Published on: 25 Dec, 2022
Updated on: 25 Dec, 2022

From Graham Richings

See: Proposals for London Road, Burpham – Public Meeting

It would be useful to those attending the meeting at George Abbot School on January 5 about the Active Travel project for London Road, Burpham, to look at the proposal for a Dutch Style Roundabout at the Boxgrove Road end of the project.

This type of roundabout could be a danger to cyclists and confusing for drivers of motor vehicles.

For those unfamiliar with the Dutch Style roundabout planned for Boxgrove Road junction with London Road please see this BBC video from the One Show in September 2020, two months after it was introduced…

The following extract is from an article dated August 7 2020 in Visor Down:

Dutch-style roundabouts are here, and we’re confused

The first Dutch-style roundabout has begun service in Cambridge prompting confused faces from us all.

The UK’S first Dutch-style roundabout has begun use in Cambridge as bicycles and pedestrians now gain priority over all other road users.

The new style of the roundabout has been dubbed a ‘cyclist killing zone’ by some groups and confusing by most. The idea has been borrowed from Holland, a country that sees 36 per cent of citizens regularly a bicycle, with big cities seeing even higher numbers.

The idea is that car approaching the roundabout must give way to pedestrians waiting to cross and bicycles already making their way around the outer red ring of the cycle path. Once on the roundabout, motor vehicles can carry on as normal, although must again give way to bicycles and pedestrians when exiting the roundabout.

The entry and exit points for vehicles is also narrower, with kerbed areas funnelling the vehicles off the roundabout. The idea here is to force them to slow as they enter and exit the new system.

The new system though has not been met with praise, from car drivers and even cyclists branding the new design confusing and dangerous. Many point to feeling unsafe while cycling around the new layout, even more so than the previous roundabout that the Dutch-style system is replacing.

AA president Edmund King said: “The Dutch roundabout is like Edam cheese… what works in one country or specific location might not work everywhere. But, if we don’t put different concepts to the test, the UK won’t know what works best for all road users. I have used such roundabouts in Holland and they work well with the adjacent infrastructure.

“Places like Cambridge and Oxford with a strong cycling culture, particularly among students, may find a Dutch roundabout works well. Elsewhere it may take longer to adapt.”
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And the cost of this new red-ring-of-death-a-bout? £2.4 million for a roundabout that even the cyclists it is trying to protect say is more dangerous than before.

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Responses to Letter: Those Considering the London Road Scheme Should Be Aware of Dutch Roundabout Proposal

  1. Roger Carnegie Reply

    December 25, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    I have driven on the “Magic Roundabout” in Swindon; now that was confusing. But pedestrian crossings, as shown in the photo, are not confusing to a competent driver.

    There are numerous reasons to knock the scheme but a fear of change isn’t really one.

  2. Paul Robinson Reply

    January 2, 2023 at 3:13 pm

    Considering the number of vehicle drivers that seem to be unaware of the recently revised Highway Code rules regarding cyclist and pedestrian priorities at road junctions, this Dutch Roundabout idea seems like an accident blackspot just waiting to appear.

    I would have more confidence in the idea if such roundabouts were commonplace. I have never seen one and would not have had the slightest idea how they work had I not just read up on them. Unless you are local and know about the roundabout and its priorities in advance it could be a disaster.

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