Our office was recently contacted by our third cycling client in the past several months who had been hit by a car in a roundabout in The Villages, Florida. This is extremely frustrating because these crashes are simple to avoid. The prevailing similarity is an explanation by the driver that “I never saw them.” We began to look for a better understanding of these totally preventable crashes.
Do Florida Roundabouts Prevent Cycling Accidents?
There seems to be some consensus among traffic designers that roundabouts are effective in reducing injury crashes across the entire range of road users. However, that fact simply does not hold true when their effectiveness is evaluated on behalf of cyclists, a smaller subgroup of road users adversely affected by them.
We reviewed a 2009 study in the Journal of Safety Research which looked at safety data in the Netherlands, where it is well known that traveling by bicycle is a way of life. One finding of the study was that construction of a roundabout increases the number of serious injury crashes with bicyclists. The study noted the most common type of roundabout crash occurred at the entry or exit point between a circulating bicycle and car, truck or SUV. We have found this to be our experience, as well. A large number of crashes in the study were caused when the driver failed to yield the right-of-way to the bicycle. Further, the most common driver explanation was “I never saw him” or “I never saw her.” Our experience also confirms both of these observations. To us, a driver who says “I never saw them” is making an admission, not an explanation.
Most Common Roundabout Cycling Accidents in The Villages, Florida
The most common type of roundabout in The Villages, particularly along Buena Vista Boulevard, is the two lane variety. One thing that we noticed in the study was the very low number of two lane roundabouts they encountered. The vast majority were single lane. Our experience is that there are far more two lane roundabouts in Florida, many handling relatively high volumes of traffic. Further, our office has not taken a single case in which our cyclist client was injured in a one lane roundabout anywhere in Florida. There are simply fewer potential conflicts between bicycles and vehicles in the single lane roundabout.
One of the most interesting findings affecting bicycle crashes in roundabouts is the relative infrequency of drivers encountering cyclists. The vast majority of roundabouts in The Villages are two lanes with mixed use (meaning cars and cyclists are sharing the same lane). Translation, drivers don’t encounter that many cyclists in a roundabout. Therefore, they are not consciously looking for us and they simply are not aware of their own responsibility in safely navigating through a roundabout being used by one or more people on bikes sharing the lane. This doesn’t excuse them, but it gives us a bit of perspective.
Have You Been Injured in a Cycling Accident in The Villages?
If you have been injured in bicycle crash in The Villages involving a roundabout you will have questions and may be wondering where to turn for help. As a road cyclist himself, Jim Dodson understands the issues involved in virtually every type of cycling crash, particularly roundabout crashes. He has experience riding these same roads and has helped hundreds of cyclists get their bikes replaced after being destroyed in a crash and what it takes to recover from crash related physical injuries and surgeries. He understands what it means to lose your bike and be unable to ride for weeks or months while you recover. His goal is to relieve you of the emotional burdens, handle the legal and insurance issues, while you focus on your recovery and return to cycling. We are proud of the clients who have taken the time to leave us a review on Google and welcome you to read those reviews here.
Contact us online or call our offices directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free consultation.