Designing Roundabouts for Cyclists


By Charles Pekow — Navigating roundabouts can be hell for bicyclists. But a study from the Transportation Research Board says they can be designed to make them safer and easier to get around. New technologies can help, but a problem installing them is that traffic circles are designed very differently across the country, says Background and Summary of a Guide for Roundabouts (

Many conflicts between cyclists and autos come entering right turn lanes.

The guide suggests many safety measures. For instance, if roundabouts don’t include separate bike lanes, they should include sharrows to encourage cyclists to ride down the middle of the lane. It also urges designers to install signs saying “Bikes May Use Full Lane” or “Do Not Pass Bikes.”

A Dutch-style protected roundabout, which gives cyclists priority, rendered in 3D. Image by PRZ (Pierre ROUZEAU), CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
Alternative dutch roundabout with remote cycle path crossing NOT having priority against motorists, requiring cyclists to give way to oncoming vehicles at crossing points, but protecting cyclists better than merging with auto traffic. Image by PRZ (Pierre ROUZEAU), CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
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