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.
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.