The new Dutch-style roundabout in Cambridge is the talk of the town.
The first of its kind in the UK, it cost the council an estimated £2.4m. And while most agree some serious investment needs to be put into rejuvinating our roads, that sum for a roundabout has no doubt dropped a few jaws.
After months of development it received a socially distanced ribbon cutting for its official opening on Friday July 31, and as an avid cyclist I was excited but sceptical as I headed out today to see it for myself.
My journey there reminded me of the perils of standard roundabouts as a cyclist.
Though I’ve taken on the streets of suburban London on my bike, I still get nervous turning right on a roundabout. Drivers tend to be afflicted with bicycle-blindness, or else see us cyclists coming round the roundabout and decide the right of way rules don’t apply to us, jetting off in all directions to cut us off.
I was surprised to find that that anxiety was completely absent on the Dutch-style roundabout.
The design is comprised of two rings, the inner for cars, the outer (marked in red) for cyclists, with zebra crossings for pedestrians.
The red bicycle lane is clear to see and easy to pull onto. However not everyone seemed to want to be contained by these rings, as the cyclist in front of me cycled straight across the inner ring designed for cars… Maybe the new layout will take a little bit of getting used to.
It’s clear that not everyone has the hang it yet, but then again it’s only been open for three days and is the first of its kind in the UK. The beauty of this roundabout is that cyclists and pedestrians have right of way- a rule obvious from the road markings.
One car gave way to me, another one didn’t, but then again I was dithering. One cyclist decided to throw caution to the wind and use the pavement, rather than the other two options that were freshly laid out for them.
All being said, it was easy to go on and pull off the roundabout, and the anxiety I usually feel was literally replaced with flower beds protecting me from harm’s way.
I know it cost a lot of money, and I remain sceptical that it needed to cost quite so much, but it did genuinely make for a safer-feeling ride.
Want to share your experience of the new roundabout, as a cyclist, motorist or pedestrian? You can get in touch at Cambnewsdesk@cambridge-news.com.