Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Yields at Traffic Circles Work Great for Bicycle Commuters

Right about here, a glance back over the left shoulder, then aim for between triangles 3 and 4

This traffic circle with a yield sign on a not-very-busy street always seems to work for me on my bicycle. I typically hit it about the same time as 1 to 3 cars, and we just flow through it. Except for the rare super-polite person who waves me through, an invitation that I am hesitant to accept, this just works.

30mph zone

When no cars are here, or bikes, I fly through. Or go slow through when I am riding slow. Zoom.

Good visibility

I like the good visibility here, too. Everyone seems to see everyone else. I'm still convinced in the power of the over-the-shoulder glance in this situation, by the way. If I hear a car coming with insufficient engine slowing, I give them the Glance, and they always slow down. I've also tried variations on the slow down/stopping arm signal, either the hand facing backwards pushing you signal, or the hand pointing down at the spot I am merge-stopping to. Those both seem to work pretty well, too. Although, honestly, it's most fun to just ride right through the circle when no one else is around.



  1. I think I would like our traffic circles more if they looked more like this one -- many of ours suffer from enormous statuary in the middle coupled with stop signs at every entrance, creating an experience fraught with peril for all involved. Basically, everyone stops, then tries to pop their eyes out of their heads in an effort to see around the statues (it's actually worse in cars than on bikes, since bikes afford full vision).

    The yield signs are a great idea, and the tree in the middle doesn't look like it obscures visibility too much.

  2. neuromusic, I guess I'm happy!

    Kokorozashi, also this one is fairly low traffic, probably different strategies are needed for busier circles.

  3. I think it'd work even better if the bike lane striping petered out sooner and it were clear there was only one lane going into the circle.

  4. Steve A while my lens is compressing the perspective a little bit, I tend to merge out of the bike lane before it actually peters out here, so yeah. Still, I feel the traffic engineers and constructors had the right idea here. Vehicles are typically slowing way down by the time they get here, coupled with my powerful, backwards glance, the termination seems pretty close to where it needs to be.


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