But while roundabouts improve safety for most vehicles, the Austroads report says they are no safer for riders.
Austroads says drivers at roundabouts ‘look-but-fail-to-see’ (we call it “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”, or SMIDSY) smaller vehicles such as motorcycles, scooters and bicycles, resulting in sideswipe crashes.
“Improving Safe System outcomes of two-wheelers at roundabouts should be a focus of dedicated design innovation projects,” Austroads declares.
While riders would like to see drivers better trained and more public education campaigns to look twice for riders, Austroads is more concerned with physical changes it can make to the road environment.
Their report recommends a number of different strategies such as lower speed limits, raised pavements, safety barriers and rub rails to reduce run-off-road risk, advanced warning signs and rumble strips on the approach to intersections and roundabouts.
There is also no mention of driver distraction, which the Allianz Center for Technology says is increased at intersections and roundabouts where drivers stop or slow down.
“Distracting activities are often carried out when waiting at red traffic lights – with the driver’s best intention of not compromising road safety. However, inner-city intersections are a spot where traffic conditions change extremely rapidly.”
It points out that riders are often not seen by distracted drivers.
“While waiting at the light, the driver types a number into the cellphone, updates the navigator, or lights a cigarette. The light then changes to green more quickly than expected, and the driver moves forward before even properly looking at the road. The cigarette is still smoked to the end, the text message is completed. Another lesson: distraction increases the risk of accidents in precisely those places where the driver considers them to be most harmless.”
Have you ever been sideswiped at a roundabout? Leave your comments below.