Dutch-style cycling-friendly roundabout is a must for south Dublin junction

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: A jury has recommended cycle lanes at the site of the fatal collision which claimed the life of 39-year-old Luby Maryori Ramirez, a Spanish national who was living in Dublin, but is there space at the junction for a cycling-friendly roundabout?

The Irish Times reports: “Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that the two-axle rigid truck was indicating a left turn and the cyclist was positioned on the truck’s passenger side.”

The article outlines how Damien Farrell, a Garda PSV inspector, told the inquest that the woman had cycled up the inside of the truck, but — when asked was there space for segregated of cyclists — he said: “Not that I can see other than sharing the footpath.”

This is not the case — there is space at the roundabout where Whitehall Road meets Templeville Road for a Dutch-style roundabout.

The space between walls of houses around the roundabout is about 65 metres, or more in different directions.

According to the Dutch Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic, the Dutch roundabout with segregated cycle path design (plus footpaths) can range from about 51 to 66 metres — so, the space of 65 metres is within that range. A Dutch-style roundabout could be installed in a smaller space than that.

Using the Dutch design would be a major boast for not just cycling safety and priority but pedestrian safety and priority too.

It would mean reducing the number of general traffic lanes onto the roundabout from two to one — but the realty is that two lanes never really add that much to traffic flow and certainly not worth it at junctions like these where the volumes of traffic are not relatively high and the safety cost of the two lanes isn’t worth it.

Here’s an example of the roundabout design used in a Dutch town which has a load of UK (and a small amount of Irish) tourists each year:

A key safety element to the design is space between the main roundabout circle and the cycling and walking circles:

The distance between the two area which is recommended to be 5 metres is the key difference between the modern Dutch roundabout with at grade crossing and what Ireland has tried to date and what’s in the National Cycle Manual, which is an older design now less used.

The cycle path circle around the roundabout can connect to cycle paths, cycle lanes or service streets — this example has all three in one roundabout.

Previously I wrote that if Ireland wants cycling friendly streets, we need Dutch-style roundabouts — I’m still left waiting for these roundabouts to be accepted into Irish design guidance.

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A SIDE NOTE: The 2017 English-language edition of the Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic is available to buy from around €130 at crow.nl/publicaties/design-manual-for-bicycle-traffic-(1) — it’s well worth it for councils, consultants, professionals involved in the public realm, and cycling campaigners.

7 Comments

  1. That’s near me. he worked in the nearby Spiritans / Holy Ghost Fathers development studies college, It dates from the late seventies when Templeville and St Peter’s Rd were joined over resident’s objections. The roundabout is busy and small. At least two of the corners have very high kerbs with hilly grass behind, making an exit to the footpath for the nervous very hard. The junction narrows or pinches exiting Whitehall Rd. Seems a hazardous design that favours cars over pedestrians and cyclists despite the token cycle marking.

  2. I live near there, the two lane system doesn’t work as most drivers cut across lanes and bring it back to one lane. There is huge space to make the Dutch style system work

  3. The Guard stated that the cyclist had cycled up the inside of the truck, this is misleading and makes it sound as though they were sharing a lane and the cyclist had forced their way up beside the truck leaving the driver no chance to see her . This is incorrect, she was in a clearly marked and separate cycle lane which a reasonable person would see as a safe place to be .We need an attitude that the right thing for safety can be done until it is proved a compromise solution must be used rather than assuming that safety for cyclists is an afterthought and an inconvenience which slows car and truck traffic .
    Remember we were here first .The bicycle predates both the invention of the car and lorry . When cyclists started using the roads we only had to contend with trams and horse drawn traffic. So it is the cars and trucks that should be the ones allowed if they can be safely be accomodated.

  4. Thanks for that bigx. When I read this I assumed from the way it was phrased that the cyclist had done exactly as you said. Squeezed up the inside of a left turning truck.

    In my experience when people say there is no space for proper cycling infrastructure what they very often mean is “without taking some space away from car driving or car parking”. A depressingly high number of people, including TDs, are completely open that as far as they are concerned the concerns of car drivers trump everyone else.

  5. The ‘worst junctions’ in Dublin

  6. At one time some roads engineers in Galway County Council proposed marking cycle lanes on a roundabout. They were told in writing that they would face a fitness to practice complaint if they tried it. Incredibly dangerous on an Irish style roundabout.

  7. People need to tweet about this, tag their local councillors and ask for their support. This is an idea that would have avoided deaths in the past and can certainly save lives in the future once implemented.

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