Road users split over ‘magic roundabout’ which separates bikes from cars

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways August 22, 2014 08:35

Road users split over ‘magic roundabout’ which separates bikes from cars

A breakthrough in cycle safety was unveiled yesterday as work began to create the first fully segregated roundabout in London.

Cyclists and vehicles will be kept apart by using raised kerbs and separate traffic lights on the Queen’s Circus roundabout in Battersea.

The interchange is not notorious for collisions but Wandsworth council decided to make the improvements under plans to prioritise cycling and walking in the redeveloped Nine Elms area.

The roundabout is used by thousands of commuter cyclists each day as it lies on Boris Johnson’s cycle superhighway 8 that links Wandsworth and Westminster.

Use is expected to increase as former industrial areas of north Battersea are being transformed with the redevelopment of Battersea power station and the relocation of the US embassy.

The new roundabout, which will also be fitted with pedestrian crossings, is the first to attempt to keep cyclists and motorists fully segregated in London. Work is due to be completed next summer.

The proposed roundabout has received some support from cyclists online. Kevin Denihan said: “Great news for us cyclists. More of the same please.” Cycling group @citycyclists wrote: “Hmm. Intriguing. Plan for bike track around roundabout with traffic lights Battersea Park”

One person said: “I’ll try it when it’s finished but from the picture I’m more scared of this than a normal roundabout. On a normal roundabout I can ride with the cars and there are maybe two danger points, entering and leaving. Here they force cyclists turning right to ride 270 degrees around the outside in a separate lane. It’d be very, very easy for a car driver to not check, just as they don’t pavements.”

Another user said: “New cycling layout in Battersea, not sure it looks safer to me?” One person wrote: “Doesn’t look all that user friendly to me.”

In a blog post, the London Cycling Campaign said it had expressed “serious concerns” over the design when it was revealed to its members last year.

Commenting on the proposals, it said: “The new design gives less space to cyclists with added delay, well over a minute in the worst case. That can only lead to congestion and risk taking behaviour.”

Donnachadh McCarthy, co-organiser of campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists, said the design “failed” to meet the standards of cycle lanes in the Netherlands.

He said: “Whilst we welcome Wandsworth Council’s inclusion of protected left-hand turns for cyclists in this revamped junction, we are astonished that they are yet again simply painting cycle-lanes on the roads, rather than installing actual Dutch standard segregated cycle lanes.

“The junction design therefore fails the 8 year old test, which is simply not acceptable after all the deaths over the last year in London.”

Bow roundabout, the scene of three cyclist fatalities since 2011, was last year fitted with separate traffic lights for cyclists and vehicles on two of its four “arms”.

Whipps Cross roundabout in Walthamstow is due to be segregated under “Dutch-style” plans to improve safety and as part of the introduction of a cycle superhighway on Lea Bridge Road.

Wandsworth council’s transport spokesman, Councillor Jonathan Cook, said: “This is an innovative design and we expect it will be the first major roundabout in London which separates cyclists from other traffic in this way.

“There will be segregated cycle lanes and the points at which riders cross the road will be controlled by traffic lights to avoid any potential conflict. We hope this will be a blueprint others can follow.

“In Nine Elms we are redeveloping an entire district of the city which provides a unique opportunity to plan and deliver an exceptional new transport network. But we also asking drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to take extra care while the work is on-going.”

Garrett Emmerson, Transport for London’s roads chief, said: “These ambitious and innovative plans for Queen’s Circus will deliver improvements for cyclists while also making the environment better for pedestrians and other road users.”

The roads will remain open for the vast majority of the project but there will be a need for a temporary traffic lane and pavement closures as well as changes to bus stops.

Story and image: The

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways August 22, 2014 08:35