How to Bike Through a Roundabout

With roundabouts popping up across the Capital District, many cyclists may be left wondering just how to navigate this unfamiliar intersection type. The following tips should help clarify how to safely move through roundabouts on a bike:

Cyclists may either enter the roundabout as a vehicle or dismount and use the pathway/sidewalk around the perimeter of the roundabout.
• Riders who enter the roundabout as a vehicle must follow the same rules as vehicles. Cyclists are required to follow all signs and pavement markings, and to yield to both pedestrians and vehicles already circulating within the roundabout.
• Be assertive when merging with traffic.
• Before entering a multi-lane roundabout, cyclists should be sure they are in the correct lane.
• Riders should try to travel at approximately the same speed as motorists within the roundabout. Cyclists should ride in the center of the lane, not along the curb line.
• Be sure to use proper hand signals when exiting the roundabout.

NYSDOT has a great video showing bikes through a roundabout

Image Source: FHWA

5 responses to “How to Bike Through a Roundabout”

  1. Doug Haller says:

    I do sometime ride my bike through the roundabouts, in the Malta area, and find them pretty easy to ride through….I take control of the the lane, and ride as a car…. also, get eye contact with the drivers, to make sure that really do see you.

  2. Dan Lynch says:

    I use the Malta roundabouts and like the directions say it’s important to be seen. Drive your bike like a car using hand signals and the car drivers will see you and know that you using the rules of the road. I use tail lights and wear clothing that is not going to look like the surrounding envirenment.

  3. Ivan Vamos says:

    I use the new roundabout at Shaker and Maxwell Rd to get to the Town Library. It’s a great improvement from the past when a left turn out of the library exit would be very hazardous.
    On the other hand I tried to use the roundabout connecting multi-lane roads at the Thruway entrance, Rt. 28, and Washington St. in Kingston, and found the intersection scary on a bike or walking – also when snow is not cleared from sidewalls (as was the case in Kingston) using the walkways is out of the question.

  4. Bob Speece says:

    The recommendations that I am aware of state that bike lanes should not be located within the circulatory roadway. I’m curious about when it would be desirable to have a bike lane provided through a roundabout.

  5. Safety Committee says:

    A traffic roundabout presents special safety issues to a group bike ride. A single rider may be able to merge in between vehicles, but with a long line of cyclist behind the lead rider, his actions must not be the same as a single rider. The lead must consider vehicles approaching the circle from the opposite direction and anticipate that they will be going 270° around the circle. In that case, the group would not be able to get completely through the entering intersection before the vehicle comes around that part of the circle. The safest way is for the leader to slow the group as they approach the circle and yield or even stop of there are vehicles in or approaching the roundabout. Every rider in the group must have the mindset of yielding rather than forcing their way into the circle.

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