I often see mistakes from other road users in roundabouts, ranging from wrong indication, position and observation making roundabouts particularly dangerous and a vulnerability for motorcycle riders .
Roundabouts are intersections where multiple roads merge in order to keep the traffic flowing without stopping or causing a big traffic congestion. The disadvantages can be a high density of traffic, so to use the correct approach and proccedure is imperative in order to keep us (bikers) safe.
In the majority of roundabouts around the U.K. you have to give way to any traffic approaching from your RIGHT, meaning that at the approach you MUST look RIGHT and be prepared to STOP and allow any traffic coming from your RIGHT to pass. Only a few roundabouts work differently where you may need to stop on the roundabout to give way to the traffic entering. In that case there will be road markings and signs or traffic lights to inform. Otherwise, remember, on the approach, LOOK RIGHT and GIVE WAY to the traffic in the roundabout coming from the RIGHT.
These can all vary significantly in size and complexity; they can be single laned or have multiple lanes allowing the traffic to flow better; Big roundabouts may also have multi exits and be unmarked or road marked to help drivers to keep in lane. Advance warning signs not only inform you of a roundabout, but they may also inform you of its complexity, the direction you need to take and which lane is applicable to you based on your destination. When dealing with a roundabout we should consider a good observation to our imediate right on the approach, correct indication, lane positioning according to our destination exit and regular shoulder checks in order to avoid a colision or a near miss (I will talk about these further down).
MAKING A LEFT TURN OR ROUNDABOUT FIRST EXIT
1 As you approach the roundabout on the left lane, slow down, indicate left and access how busy the situation is. Alternate observations between your traveling direction and traffic to your right while approaching the roundabout.
2 Look right and be prepared to stop if necessary (give way to any traffic in the roundabout coming from your imediate right). Avoid stopping if the roundabout is clear on the right as this may result in a rear collision.
3 Keep to the left lane and keep your signal on. Just before you enter the new road, take a look into the right (shoulder check) for other vehicles that may also be entering the lane and cut you off.
4 Exit the roundabout and check your rear mirrors so that you know the situation all-round and position yourself on the middle of your lane if possible.
5 Ensure you cancel your indicators.
SECOND EXIT OR GOING STRAIGHT AHEAD
1 As you approach the roundabout on the left lane, slow down and access how busy the situation is. Alternate observations between your traveling direction and traffic to your right while approaching the roundabout. Don´t use any indicators at this stage.
1a You can also use the right lane (if the left lane is busy or there is some obstruction for example), slow down and access how busy the situation is. Alternate observations between your traveling direction and traffic to your left while approaching the roundabout . Do not use any indicators at this stage.
2 Look right and be prepared to stop if necessary (give way to any traffic in the roundabout coming from your imediate right). Avoid stopping if the roundabout is clear on the right. Again, do not indicate!!!
3 Keep on the selected lane.
4 Signal to the left as you pass the last exit before the one you intend to go and do a shoulder check to the right just to ensure that there isn´t another vehicle driving alongside you with intention to merge into your path.
4a Signal to the left as you pass the last exit before the one you intend to go and do a shoulder check to the left to make sure all is clear before crossing to the left lane. ( If there is another vehicle on the left lane and it is not safe to change lanes, proceed to another loop around the roundabout).
5 Exit the roundabout into the middle of your lane (if possible), ensure you cancel your indicators and give a glance at your mirrors to observe what´s behind you.
MAKING A RIGHT TURN OR THIRD EXIT ON THE ROUNDABOUT
1 Signal to the right and apply the OSM routine ( observation/signal/maneuvre) if you are moving over into the lane on the right and remember to do a shoulder check to the right before changing lane.
2 Slow down on the roundabout approach, signal to the right and alternate observations between your traveling direction and to the traffic on your left while approaching the roundabout.
3 Look right and be prepared to stop if necessary (give way to any traffic in the roundabout coming from your imediate right). Avoid stopping if the roundabout is clear on the right. Keep the signal on to the right.
4 Move into the roundabout on the inside lane. It is very important to keep the signal to the right on.
5 Keep on the inside of the roundabout as you go around. Signal to the right is on.
6 As you pass the exit before yours, shift the signal to the left and do a shoulder check to the left to ensure the left lane is clear as you intend to come across to the outside lane and exit the roundabout. ( In case there is a car on the left lane, do not move into its path and do another loop around the roundabout).
7 Exit the roundabout into the new road, cancel your signal to the left and position yourself in the middle of your lane (if possible) . Also check your mirrors to observe the situation behind you.
Not a rule, just a hint:
If the images and explanation above was a bit confusing to you here is another way to understand how most roundabouts work, however, this is not part of the highway code or a golden rule we can apply to all roundabouts… It is just a tip!!!
BEFORE 12 O´CLOCK: lets consider that the roundabout is a clock, being the 12 o´clock straight ahead of us; I would say that any exit we intend to take before 12 o´clock (including 12 o´clock) the preferable route would be on the outside lane of the roundabout, there is no indication as we get into the roundabout ( except if we want to leave the roundabout at the first exit) and indication is only given to the left after the exit before our exit. In other words, we only indicate to the left to show our intention to leave the roundabout before our exit.
PAST 12 O`CLOCK: Any exit we intend to take after 12 o´clock, it is considered a right turn, so we should always signal right on the roundabout approach, and moving into the inside lane of the roundabout always signaling right, to then after the exit before our exit signal left as we intend to leave the roundabout and do a shoulder check to the left as we want to move to the outside lane before exiting the roundabout.
By doing so, we are communicating about our traveling direction to the other drivers, reducing accident risk. At the same time, the correct observation and lane positioning will help towards a good traffic flow at a reduced risk or getting involved in an accident.
Hope this little tip helped you guys out!!!
Mini Roundabouts are normally small and you will find them in quieter areas. They are painted in white on the road with orientation arrrows. The white painted circle may have some elevation or not. Mini roundabouts can also be simple or complex being the latest multiple mini roundabouts.
Mini-Roundabouts are pretty straight forward, treat them as junctions but give way to any traffic in the Mini-Roundabout at your imediate right;
Indicate if you plan to do a right turn or left turn; If you go straight ahead no need to indicate at all;
If you encounter a complex mini-roundabout with 2 or more mini-roundabouts, deal with them independently giving always the way to the vehicle travelling inside them; Always follow the way indicated by the road mark arrows and don´t cut across the white circle as the white paint can be very slippery.