UK gets first Dutch-style roundabout that gives priority to cyclists

Britain gets its first Dutch-style roundabout that gives priority to cyclists but motorists condemn ‘confusing’ £2.3million project they fear will cause ‘more accidents’

  • Cyclists have outer ring on the Cambridge roundabout, with cycle crossings over each of four approach roads
  • There are also zebra crossings over each of the approach roads for pedestrians and motorists must give way
  • Reduced lane widths on roundabout and at exit and entry points designed to encourage drivers to slow down
  • Locals branded the roundabout ‘confusing’, a ‘killing zone’ and instead have now called for new road networks

Britain’s first Dutch-style roundabout that prioritises cyclists and pedestrians has been blasted by motorists as ‘confusing’, ‘a cyclist killing zone’ and ‘an overspend’ after the council blew £2.3million on it.

Cyclists have an outer ring on the Cambridge roundabout, with cycle crossings over each of the four approach roads in a contrasting red surface.

There are also zebra crossings over each approach road for pedestrians. Motorists must give way to pedestrians and cyclists when joining and leaving the roundabout.

Reduced lane widths on the roundabout and at exit and entry points are designed to encourage drivers to slow down.

Cyclists have an outer ring on the Cambridge roundabout, with cycle crossings over each of the four approach roads in a contrasting red surface

There are also zebra crossings over each approach road for pedestrians. Motorists must give way to pedestrians and cyclists when joining and leaving the roundabout

Reduced lane widths on the roundabout and at exit and entry points are designed to encourage car drivers to slow down

Cambridgeshire County Council said the old roundabout near Addenbrooke’s Hospital ‘was perceived by many people to be dangerous to cycle around’.

People also ‘reported feeling unsafe when walking in the area due to a lack of pedestrian crossings, particularly more vulnerable users’, the authority said.

But locals have branded the new system ‘confusing’, a ‘killing zone’ and called for new road networks instead of ‘further slowing it down’.

Paul Howell said: ‘Can’t wait for everyone (yes everyone) to get confused and the accidents to start happening. How about spending the money on road schemes that need it.’

Alice Hodkinson said: ‘Really Bad. This is a cyclist killing zone, like radegund road Perne Road.’

Tony Stark said: ‘Putting pedestrian crossings on these in Cambridge is loading the bullet into a gun. I hope when the accidents start building up, the city council will be willing to pay out as ultimately it will be their fault.

‘The road networks in Cambridge are out dated and can not deal with the current and ever increasing flow. Better road networks should be a priority not further slowing it down and prioritising pedestrian and cycle ways.’

And Helen Lake added: ‘We have similar roundabouts in France and I do not think they are a good idea because of the pedestrian crossings being placed so close to the roundabout.

Cambridgeshire County Council said the old roundabout near Addenbrooke’s Hospital ‘was perceived by many people to be dangerous to cycle around’. Pictured: The new roundabout

Locals have branded the new system ‘confusing’, a ‘killing zone’ and called for new road networks instead of ‘further slowing it down’

Some locals blasted the cost of the scheme, originally estimated at around £800,000, which had almost trebled to £2.3million by the end of the project

‘Cars wishing to exit the roundabout will be blocked by people crossing – in France the majority of the time they don’t bother to stop at zebra crossing anyway… but when they do, cars fill up the circulation space on the roundabout. Not a good idea at all.’

Some have also blasted the cost of the scheme, originally estimated at around £800,000, which had almost trebled to £2.3million by the end of the project.

Graham Smith wrote on Twitter: ‘Just cycled round the £2.5m Dutch roundabout. No other cyclists in sight. White elephant maybe.

‘Only been open a week and already the red tarmac is disappearing under tyre tracks. I would still like to know who’s paying for the overspend.’

Gabriel Bienzobas put: ‘Personally I wouldn’t have built this roundabout, not at £2.4m, not at £800k. The Dutch, 40 years ago, didn’t start by building these types of roundabout, priority or not, they started by creating play streets and filtering the traffic away from streets to trunk roads.’

And Adam Brown added: ‘It’s actually really awful to cycle round though. The previous roundabout had problems but this is worse.’

A council highways report cited additional utility work including BT and UK Power Networks cabling, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic, as reasons for this.

Roxanne De Beaux, executive director of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, said the new roundabout ‘feels like a small piece of Dutch cycling heaven’.

‘I feel very safe with this layout, the geometry made it easy to see the cars leaving and approaching the roundabout and the people driving were all giving way to the people cycling and walking,’ she said.

Ian Bates, chairman of the Highways and Transport Committee, said: ‘I am delighted to see the completion of improvements to this roundabout, which aim to improve safety at this busy junction and encourage more people to walk and cycle.

‘It is great to see Cambridgeshire leading the way in implementing the first truly Dutch-inspired roundabout that improves safety for vulnerable users, ahead of recent nationally published Government guidance that strongly promotes this type of infrastructure.’

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes added: ‘There should be an expectation that all road users follow the laws of the road, but from a motorist’s point of view, giving extra space when overtaking, not blocking bike boxes at junctions and always checking mirrors for cyclists will go a long way in improving safety on our roads.

‘RAC research shows one-in-five drivers cycle relatively frequently and many cyclists likewise use a car, so it is also important that efforts are made to try and end the ‘us versus them’ narrative, whereby drivers are pitted against cyclists and vice-versa, when the reality is that motorists and cyclists are simply road users trying to complete a journey safely.’

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