They come small and they come big, they get slippery when wet and for every-one there is an arsehole that doesn't know how to use one. I am of course talking about roundabouts.
Roundabouts - as a motorcyclist/cyclist - are the most hazardous junctions I come across. But what is it about roundabouts that makes all driving/riding knowledge go out of the window?
The highway code is clear, "give priority to traffic approaching from your right, unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic lights". Why does being round make this task so much more difficult?
I was spurred to write this post by a video I came across on YouTube. How I stumbled across it I'm unsure, I got caught in the dreaded YouTube loop. The video is a pretty standard example of how not to use a roundabout by both a motorcyclist and a van driver.
I'll give you a moment to clean your soiled underwear and also get over how ridiculously good that braking was (possibly ABS?) before looking at what went wrong.
Most helmet cameras are slightly convexed giving the impression that the rider is riding faster than they actually are. I have no doubt the rider was driving in the speed limit here. However the rider does not seem to look to the right while making his approach and neither does he seem to lower his speed. Instead he just plows onto the roundabout and the above situation occurs.
If it was wet I have no doubt the rider would have been firmly in the passenger seat next to the naughty van driver.
Who has priority in this situation? I feel this is a really grey area when using roundabouts. Does the van? He's already well at the junction before the motorcyclist enters the rounabout but at the same time I'm sure the motorcylist thinks he has right of way.
"Are you absolutely fucking useless?!"
This cracks me up every time I watch the video, it shouldn't because I know how angry and scary these kind of things are. There's definitely lessons to be learnt here from both points of view.
As road users I feel we get a false sense of entitlement when using the road. Situations like this could be resolved by planning more efficiently and not trusting anything we see in front of us. The rider should not have trusted that van until he was past him; and the van driver should have had more sense than to pull out when it's clear there is traffic about to hit the roundabout from the side he should give way to.
Whether the van driver had priority or not it's better waiting those few seconds or killing your speed than possibly ending your own or someone else's life.