I have started cycling to work and last week I, for the first time, had to cycle along about 40% of the route that I take home down from Bellshill to Uddingston. This was remarkably easy and will now be my default way home, because it is actually easier than booting up into traffic in Bellshill and easier because it is all downhill for 50% of the route and off-road segregate cycling path the rest of the way. It’s easier, safer, and oddly faster.
The main problem is one roundabout though. And this post isn’t about cycling – it’s about this one fucking roundabout.
Whilst driving it, it has almost caused in one month seven near collisions (the with me, four with other drivers) and every single time it because of one singularly bad bit of roundabout rule abiding – going right in the left lane.
This used to happen all the time in Aberdeen actually – I was certain it was because Aberdeen is the worst city in Scotland for driving skills (anecdotal but true) and I’ve rarely seen it in Glasgow, but this one roundabout… it’s is a disaster for a very good reason.
In the below shot you will be following the two red arrows. You’re approaching from the right and heading across to the far side of the roundabout. Let’s lay some really important facts out here – there are two lanes heading into the roundabout, two lanes on the roundabout, and four exits. The exist you are aiming for is exit three, the last one you will go to unless you’re going around the roundabout.
Any other roundabout you’ll enter the right hand lane to turn right. That’s the rules of a roundabout, isn’t it? Actually, let’s check:
From the Highway Code
Signals and position
When taking the first exit to the left, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise
signal left and approach in the left-hand lane
keep to the left on the roundabout and continue signalling left to leave.
When taking an exit to the right or going full circle, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise
signal right and approach in the right-hand lane
keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout
signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.
So there we go. The below graphic shows the legal, correct and the only way to go to the fourth exit on this roundabout. But, as I have just described, it’s not how most use it.
Indeed, most drivers actually go to the third exit in the left hand lane, resulting in… well, the pink route and the green route can’t coexist in the same space, hence my aforementioned close calls.
This is stupid though. I mean there is no reason to be in the wrong lane, right? I mean the rules are you go to the right lane to turn right. The problem though, isn't the drivers. No, it's the roundabout, and for a really simple and important reason.
The optimal route through the roundabout is the third exit. It's actually the through route - the road that is the through route is the third exit, which isn't the way it's supposed to be. Look at old maps (click here) you can see that the road that is now called "New Edinburgh Road" is actually an old road that has had the roundabout Frankensteined on to it probably to facilitate the McDonalds, Brewer's Fayre, Esso, Subway and hotel addition, along with the residential development.
So the problem lies in the over use of the roundabout style junction. There's no need for one here (and by putting one in it's disrupted the flow of the "main" road). That's not to absolve the drivers of their negligence either because the rules are the rules, and the roundabout's only a shanner when the drivers are acting like shanners.
Anyway, it's hard to drive around this... it's even harder to cycle around it. Have I mentioned that I am now cycling to work?