UK's First Dutch-Style Roundabout That Prioritises Cyclists Opens To Public
People in Cambridge are getting used to travelling through the UK's first Dutch-style roundabout, which prioritises cyclists. You can watch a video demonstrating how it works below:
The roundabout ended up costing £2.3 million ($3 million) - almost three times the original estimate - and it opened to traffic on Fendon Road last Friday.
Unlike standard roundabouts, it has an additional outer ring for cyclists which crosses each approach road. There are also zebra crossings on each approach road and motorists must give way to both cyclists and pedestrians when joining and leaving the roundabout.
Lanes are also narrower than normal to reduce the speed of vehicles.
As you might expect, people are pretty split on it. Funnily enough, cyclists and pedestrians seem to be broadly in favour, while motorists aren't so keen.
Ian Bates, chairman of the Highways and Transport Committee, belongs to the pro-Dutch roundabout camp.
He 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."
AA president Edmund King compared the roundabout to cheese, for reasons which will become clear below.
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As reported by the Daily Mail, he said: "The Dutch roundabout is like Edam cheese - liked by many, but not to everyone's taste. However, the fact of the matter is that road systems will have to evolve as modes of personal transport change, including the introduction of electric bikes and scooters.
"What works in one country or specific location might not work everywhere. But, if we don't put different concepts to the test, the UK won't know what works best for all road-users. I have used such roundabouts in Holland and they work well with the adjacent infrastructure.
"Places like Cambridge and Oxford with a strong cycling culture, particularly among students, may find a Dutch roundabout works well. Elsewhere it may take longer to adapt."
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched a fresh push to get the nation cycling.
The UK government is offering £50 bike repair vouchers in a bid to encourage more people to get about on two wheels to help tackle obesity, fight the spread of coronavirus and protect the environment.
The scheme is one of numerous measures announced by the government designed to tackle obesity, with Public Health England research indicating that overweight or obese people are at greater risk of serious illness or death after contracting Covid-19.
Consequently, GPs in disadvantaged areas will be able to prescribe cycling to patients, who will be granted access to bikes through their local surgery.
It is also hoped that increased cycling will help to minimise public transport use during the pandemic, reducing the chance of the virus spreading between commuters.
Featured Image Credit: PA