Friday, 9 September 2011


Over near the zoo, a new roundabout has been installed. It's a big improvement for motorists and a bit of an improvement for pedestrians. Before, it used to be a nightmare for student coming from Adelaide Uni to get across Frome Road and carry on along War Memorial Drive. The road was too wide and cars never stopped. At certain times of day, the only time you could cross was when the traffic was at a standstill in a jam. Now pedestrians at least have a halfway point to stop at.

It's not so great for cyclists though. There is of course a painted bike lane leading up to the roundabout:

If you use it and manage not to get knocked off your bike by a car door opening on the way, you are greeted with this:

The bike lane disappears and reappears again after the roundabout:

The problem is the signal it sends to road users. What does a cyclist do if he or she is turning right at the roundabout. If you stay in the bike lane until the end, are you supposed to creep around the edge of the roundabout until you reach the exit you want? What would the motorist behind you expect you to do? Predictably, on my observations, a good number of cyclists don't use the bike lane that is there unless they are turning left.

Those who are going straight on or turning right do the "vehicular cyclist" thing and "take the lane". It's not for everyone because you're trusting that the person behind you is looking at you rather than speeding across the roundabout and looking briefly ony to the right where they expect another car (not a cyclist) might be.

The roundabout is also a bit unsatisfactory for those of us (and there are many) who come towards the city via North Adelaide and the parklands. We use the jogging track that follows Mackinnon Parade before running parallel with Frome Road. You're not really helped much when you hit the roundabout:

You either have to cross with the pedestrians in front of you and swerve back onto the road or take a sharp right then left and join the road before the roundabout. Either way is a pain. It's impossible to signal your intentions to drivers so you just have to wait until the coast is clear.

There is of course plenty of free information on how to build a roundabout properly whether big or small. And there's also the cheaper, easy to apply here, Danish version:

Take your pick.


  1. "Sounds like a bunch of grapefruits to me"

  2. In all seriousness, have you contacted the transport department and asked them how they create these things? Chances are they'll think you're a loony but it's worth a go

  3. Anonymous 1: do you mean a "case of sour grapes"?

    Anonymous 2: I will do that.

  4. There is certainly room for improvement, but to be honest, I would rather see something like this than the train wreck that was Sturt St bike lane. The Sturt St bike lane clearly demonstrated that Adelaide simply doesn't have the necessary expertise to build the kind of cycling infrastructure that is take for granted in countries like The Netherlands. The design is simple and most Adelaide drivers and cyclists would be familiar with it. When it comes to building infrastructure that minimises conflict between cars and cyclists, we must first learn to walk before we can run, and we still haven't quite worked out the walking part I think.

  5. Chris, I fear the ghost of the Sturt Street bicycle lane will continue to rear its ugly head for years to come. You'd think with all of the know-how collected over the last 30 years or more, we would be able to learn something from it.