Help Forum

Help requested posted on 16th August 2016:

Sign Variant 877 Lane Destination except cyclists

To account for the difficulty cyclists have at roundabouts with left turn only in the nearside and straight ahead in the offside lane, cyclists are now permitted to use the left only lane to go straight ahead using the Sign Variant 877 Lane destination left only except cyclists. From a road safety perspective, and potential audit point, what is everyone's thoughts? Should it be picked up as an issue?

Paul McKenna

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Response posted on 16th August 2016 by:
Steve Barber

E: sbarber2@kierwsp.co.uk
T:

Cyclists using Left only lane

To be honest I would have extreme reservations about this without appropriate signage. In my experience drivers do not concentrate to a safe standard, particularly on regular routes, and once they have memorised that a particular roundabout has a left only lane, they will not expect traffic of any sort to go straight on. In cars etc. this will generally amount to a damage only collision, but for a cyclist it could prove fatal. I feel it could lead to situations where cyclists are trying to feed into a lane already occupied by a vehicle who as far as they are concerned are driving correctly, and said cyclist could be squeezed out against the kerb with disastrous consequences. Sorry, don't think it will work.


Response posted on 16th August 2016 by:
Kate Carpenter

E: kate.carpenter@jacobs.com
T:

cycle exemptions

yes! it arose in cycle superhighway designs and was flagged by auditors. signals are easier as can separate left and ahead movements(though there's a capacity impact, need policy leadership). For roundabouts conflict is a real problem and I'm not sure signing would help - it might be the 'slippery road sign' equivalent which doesn't change behaviour but stops you being sued! I feel it's a real problem with roundabouts and can't suggest a solution without seeing the layout, sorry!


Response posted on 17th August 2016 by:
Adrian Roberts

E: aroberts@cormacltd.co.uk
T:

Cyclists - lane designation

It is not just roundabouts, of course – many signalised junctions have the same approach layout. This exemption can be a sensible option, depending upon the circumstances. After all, the alternative can be far from pleasant: the former sign layout requires a cyclist to move from the nearside of the nearside lane into the outside lane – usually crossing two heavy flows of faster-moving vehicles approaching from behind. This can be hazardous in itself and many cyclists already choose to use the nearside lane, controlling following traffic, rather than attempt this (for reasons of basic self-preservation). The sign change seems to be formalising a common and reasonable practice, which is often safer than the alternative.

I know of one A-road junction (signalised), for example, that has a long, steep uphill approach. Most cyclists are doing 5mph by the top of it (and half-dead, if they're anything like me); trying to wobble across into the outside 'ahead' lane in heavy 30mph traffic is definitely not the safest option! Instead, cyclists generally use the near-centre of the left-turn lane, preventing following traffic from turning left across them. Their move parallels the ‘ahead’ lane rather than balking it. This change in the TSRGD sign just seems to accept that option – it is still up to us as highway/safety engineers to choose when it is appropriate to offer it (and when not). Nor does the change remove the choice from the cyclist of using the outside lane if they wish.

Many cyclists already use the very outer part of the circulatory carriageway at roundabouts, so it probably wouldn’t surprise drivers to see them approaching from there, let alone further to the offside of it, in the middle of the left-hand lane (see also Highway Code R.77 & R.187). I see no reason automatically to be concerned about the sign’s use, therefore – it will depend upon the circumstances, and should be audited accordingly.

This sign may often end up being used specifically with a combined bus/cycle lane on exit from the junction. If there is no option to exempt cyclists, they would have to move into the offside through-traffic lane, and then back into their reserved lane, rather than just go straight into it as a bus is allowed to do. This would seem unreasonable (and more dangerous), so it is surely a good option to have, if only for that situation.

The biggest danger may be a driver turning left across a cyclist going 'ahead' while on a vehicle's nearside. It might not be a suitable option to offer with a nearside cycle lane, therefore, unless it ceases some distance before the junction. However, this left-turn collision already happens when cyclists can't/won't use the outside lane; at least the sign gives some warning of their potential movement. I think, however, we might want to trust the cyclist a little more: if we expect a cyclist to be competent enough to cross both lanes and occupy the outer one, we might expect them to be competent enough to safely use the nearside lane as an alternative.


Response posted on 18th August 2016 by:
Michael Langdon

E: michael.j.langdon@tmr.qld.gov.au
T:

Cyclists in left turn only lanes

We've been doing a fair bit of research on this issue.

You may like to have a look at TC1769:
http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/business-industry/Technical-standards-publications/TC-signs.aspx
http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/-/media/busind/techstdpubs/Traffic-management/TC-signs/tc1751tc1799.pdf?la=en

We also developed som instructional videos for our designers and engineers:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRO1oP6Wqxw – Sharing lanes at left turns (TC1769)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hpen2d8fpJk – Bicycle lanes and markings (BAZ)


We also develop guidelines on safety treatments for roundabouts:
http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/-/media/busind/techstdpubs/Technical-notes/Traffic-engineering/TN136.pdf?la=en
http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/business-industry/Technical-standards-publications/Technical-Notes/Traffic-engineering


Response posted on 18th August 2016 by:
Andrew Russ

E: andrew.russ@grontmij.com
T:

Providing for Cyclists at Roundabouts

Playing Devil's Advocate, and assuming this is a Stage 2 or 3 Audit, one might ask why proper segregated cycleways and crossings of each arm weren't recommended - or perhaps were turned down - at an earlier stage.

Surely, signing is the PPE of risk management, pretty much the last line of defence, relying as it does on drivers with vastly varying skills to first notice it and then act accordingly?

We know cyclists are vulnerable at all junction types, whether they are 'confident', competent', 'nervous' or any of the other categories we seem to want to place them in. Shouldn't we be holding the designers' feet to the fire and recommending keeping cyclists away from any motor vehicles going above 20mph (and also from peds going 3mph)? If a designer then says it's outside their brief so be it, but if we routinely separate peds from motors and give them their own infrastructure why not the other 'vulnerable road users'? Just because we've fallen in to the habit of mixing them doesn't make it right or safe.


Response posted on 18th August 2016 by:
Robert Woolley

E: robertwoolley@greenbee.net
T:

cyclists ahead from left only lane!!

There are some very competent comments here from professionals, so a Joe Public response might help. I come at this from a driving instruction perspective, and have to get people to use the junctions you guys design.
My first reaction to this was disbelief. How could any sane public official give a cyclist permission to put themselves at risk of death by going straight ahead from a left only lane, when there is already a know issue with with cyclists being crushed under left turning vehicles at normal junctions? Having read the comments, I can see how one might get to that position, but I think it ignores simple obvious issues.
* Signage about exceptions for classes of road user is problematic, because most road users will filter out information about other classes. So drivers won't even see the information about cyclists.
* Roundabouts are cognitively taxing for everyone. They are designed to increase capacity by allowing traffic to enter and merge without actually stopping. That means that the highest priority observations as one approaches/enters a roundabout are directed at finding the gap in the traffic from the right, checking the space in front, and (hopefully) keeping the vehicle in lane. Nothing else will get much attention.
* It is clear from other comments that there is no safe route for a cyclist in the circumstances described. A safe alternative that would fit in with existing practice would be to give them a cycle lane that diverts them onto the pavement and into a pedestrian crossing. As a driver I don't like pedestrian crossings hidden round the corner (and, by stopping the traffic, they can undermine the whole point of having a roundabout). But the pedestrian's difficulties are worse than the cyclist's so there is often already provision for them, which is easy and cheap to use for cyclists and doesn't confuse anybody else.


Response posted on 18th August 2016 by:
Andrew Russ

E: andrew.russ@grontmij.com
T:

Cyclists at Roundabouts in General

Pedestrian crossings don't have to be hidden. We know, or at least others have shown us, how to cater for cyclists at roundabouts.

http://i.imgur.com/dECZWND.jpg

No 'turbo' nonsense, a clear, readable and easily understood layout, keeping speeds slow, but still maintaining throughput.


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