Cyclists Do You Want to Learn How to Confidently Ride in Roundabouts?

Video Transcription:

Hi there it's Jim Dodson, the Florida Bike Guy. So do you know how to ride confidently through a roundabout? We had quite a discussion after our last program about roundabouts, so I want to do two things this morning. The first is, we put a question out to people who had responded to our survey, asking about their experiences with roundabouts throughout the state. I want to talk about that for a minute. And secondly I want to walk you through a series of images we have from Cycling Savvy, that really break down from their perspective the things that we need to do when we approach a roundabout to keep us safe and quite frankly keep us confident.

So last week or recently, we put out the question to all those people who had responded to our survey. And we had over three hundred people respond. Thank you very much it was great. So all the people that responded to our survey, raised issues expressed opinions, really telling us their experiences with the roundabouts in various places around the state. Probably the one location that has the most Roundabouts in the smallest area is The Villages. Where they have a series of them along Buena Vista Boulevard. But I think there were some common things that we need to keep in mind as riders. The first is that, most riders express that they felt confident that they were doing the right thing when they rode through a roundabout but they had no confidence that drivers knew what to do. So the biggest, probably the number one thing that I heard all this last week was, "Drivers haven't got a clue about what to do in a roundabout."

Probably the most frightening thing and the thing that I heard from most about it, the specific problem with drivers, is the driver in the left lane, on the interior of the roundabout, on a two-lane roundabout, wanting to make an exist on the right and coming right across a rider, coming through a line of riders in a pace line. Of course you know drivers act as though they haven't got any time to slow down and allow us to get out of their way, so they usually always go through the soft target.

There was somebody who had really up thought a great idea about trying to educate drivers really, was to have, or suggest that the local paper run some educational articles about how drivers navigate through a roundabout. I think that's a great idea, particularly in a place like The Villages, where there are so many of them. But I think that we need to bear in mind frankly, that there are some things that we can do that Kari Caffrey and her friends at Cycling Savvy have pointed out to us this week, that raise our disability raise our ability to ride confidentially through a roundabout. I want to express those to you now.

I think we, Katie's showing the image. So here in Clearwater, we have a particularly large roundabout. It's unusual, because it has so many entrance points and exit points. It's a two-lane roundabout. It's got multiple roads that come in that are divided, so you come in on a divided two lanes going East, two lanes going West or North what have you. Can present some real challenges for people on how to navigate it. I urge you, we're going to give you a Bitly link here in a minute as the program unfolds. And I would urge you to look at that Bitly link because Keri and her staff video very, some very common approach techniques. And what you'll notice right away is that, they urge riders to fully take the lane. So this road that they start off with riding into the first roundabout on Clearwater Beach. Is a pretty heavily traveled road. Lot of traffic out to the beach. It's two lanes in each direction. You got a divided median, 35 mile an hour speed limit I believe and Keri will demonstrate during a video when you watch it, that if you take the lane, you force the drivers to slow down and move to the lane to your right or to your left.

In the videos that you're going to see, and in the stills that Kati's going to show you today, bear in mind that they're going around the roundabout at least several exit points before they're moving in to exit. So they're not demonstrating what you do if you enter a roundabout you know and then want to go off at the first exit. Which you would automatically just stay in the right lane. So in each of these demonstrations you're going to see, they're going to suggest that you go in immediately into the left lane, control that lane before you move into the exit lane, at your point of exit.

So the first one is this picture of driving North requires the use of the inside lane and I think that they've got this demonstrated. So this is the entry point on Clearwater Beach and you'll see that they're entering from the left lane, when you watch the video, they're going to suggest that we stop before we enter at the roundabout, to let traffic in the roundabout get out of our way, so we yield to oncoming traffic. Move directly into the inner lane control that lane. Their exit point requires a turn from the right, so they're going to move, halfway through they're going to move from the left lane into the right lane control the lane and then make your exit point as you go along. The thing that Keri emphasizes, throughout this video, is for riders to confidentially control the lane. And I think for many people that's a bit of, I guess it's a little bit of a challenge you know? To get out into the middle of a lane and control it confidentially. I think we tend to want to stay to the right too much. From their perspective, in terms of what they're recommending. So again you'll see this pretty clearly when you watch the video.

Then the next one they have, is an approach where, well actually this is the one that she was talking about, an early lane change makes everything easier. This is the, if you watch them approach the, roundabout on Clearwater Beach, you'll see that they take the left lane well before they get out to the roundabout. So she's not waiting until the last minute to move into the left lane. She's controlling the lane throughout that approach, which is a lengthy ride along Clearwater Beach, before you cross the causeway before you get to the roundabout. And their position is, you're going to force drivers to change lanes and you're going to be exactly where you need to be when you get to the end point. You want to enter the roundabout. You want to go into the left lane when you get there. Rather than forcing you to look at the last minute and try to move into the left lane creating all kinds of potential conflicts. Her position is that if you stay too far to the right, you're going to invite drivers in the roundabout to try to maneuver to your left and that creates conflict with drivers in the left lane and it makes things much more complex for us when we're riding. So look at that.

So the next slide Kati would be, entering the roundabout from the left lane, which you have up there. Again she demonstrates how to enter from the left lane. And then, I think that we've shown that driving North requires the use of the inside lane. There's one other there. Yeah. I think we actually, I think I've gone through each of the slides that they gave us.

Again, I really recommend looking at the video. I think it plays for four minutes. I think it gives a very good explanation. Keri and her organization believe that roundabouts should be simple for us to ride through. They should not be as dangerous as they appear to be to many of us. Although I can tell you in my practice, we have many cases coming from roundabouts. But they are invariably driver error. You know as I mentioned in an article I wrote, the pinch point is when the vehicle is entering the roundabout, you may be properly positioned in the right lane as you're going to exit and we've had a driver enter on the right, hit a cyclist properly positioned on the right lane. We've had riders who are properly positioned in the right lane and cars turn from the left lane trying to exit. And we've had riders properly positioned on the inside lane and a driver come in from the left never seeing the cyclist and strike them while they're properly positioned on the inside lane. So I mean sometimes we do all the right things and the wrong things happen. We can control what we control and I want us to be confident and secure in doing the best that we can to take charge of what we can do to make ourselves visible and feel confident using the roundabout.

So I hope that's helpful. You know I think a lot of people feel challenged with roundabouts and I certainly understand that. You know in our area particularly and I think we're not unlike a lot of cities in our area. We have a lot of visitors. And some of the visitors come here and they don't see roundabouts and they're perturbed perplexed as to what to do. They're not sure where the turnoff is. They're going to a restaurant and they don't know if it's the first exit or the second exit. I think we just have to be very conscious of that all the time. And put ourselves in a position to be seen and assume that you're not being seen and act accordingly. So I'd like to hear from you if you have questions about this and you want a follow up topic. We're going to do some work with Cycling Savvy on roundabouts here in the next few weeks. And I'll keep you posted on when that gets done and when we'll make that available for you.

The other thing that we want to do today is giveaway our helmet from our survey. So thank you for all of those who entered in response to our survey. The information you gave was really phenomenal. I very much appreciate it. You're very helpful to us in understanding what you're looking for and like in the question of why and what would prompt you to refer. It's very helpful for us to understand your thoughts about that. What you're looking for in terms of content. We're going to respond to that. As I said we had over three hundred people fill out the survey and make themselves able to enter our drawing today. So we're giving away a MIPS Helmet, that's highly fluorescent and what we're going to do is we're going to draw the name. Kati will contact the winner, because we've got to order the helmet for their particular size. So we're going to email the winner, get your helmet size, we'll get the helmet order and get it shipped directly to you.

What we're going to do is something that we didn't tell you at the time. We're going to keep these names in our contest bucket here, which I'll show you in just a second. Because we're going to give additional prizes over the coming weeks and we're going to use your names to draw additional prizes and I think it'll be something you'll be interested in. We want to express our appreciation for those of you who took the time to answer our survey and give us the feedback that you've given us and I just want to do all that we can to make this a great experience for you.

So without further ado. Here's our bucket You can see the names in here it's quite amazing. So I'm going to reach in here and draw a name. Vaughn Thornton. So Vaughn Thornton is the winner of our helmet contest. Vaughn, Kati will email you. We'll get your size ordered. For everyone else, we're going to keep your name in the bucket. We'll look for future prizes in the next week or two, and Kati's going to post that Bitly link it's And I would urge you to look at that link, that video it's about four minutes. I think it'd be very helpful to all of us and email me if you have questions or concerns about anything we've talked about here. I want to hear from you, 'cause this is a subject which a lot of people have interest and concern about.

So I know we've had a lot of rainy weather let's go out there and try to enjoy between the showers. Be safe. I'm Jim Dodson the Florida Bike Guy. I look forward to seeing you next time. Take care bye.

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Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.