Riding clinic: Banish your roundabout demons

Published: 01 April 2017

Learn to whiz through junctions quickly and safely  

Don’t rush into anything

On the face of it negotiating a roundabout seems like pretty basic stuff – especially if you have been driving cars for years before starting out on bikes. But some riders make a much better fist of it than others. Your approach speed will depend on the amount of view available: for example, the view could be obscured by trees and shrubs planted in the centre of the roundabout. Build in enough time to assess the roundabout properly and also allow other traffic time to see you and understand your intentions.  

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What are other drivers up to?

If you charge into a roundabout intent on getting your knee down don’t have a ‘boo hoo’ moment when someone pulls out in front of you. Be very careful about going in between lines of vehicles on the roundabout approach – drivers will be looking out for themselves and may well not be aware of your presence. If they are unsure of which exit they need, drivers often change lane without warning.

Slow in, out fast

Enter the roundabout at a moderate pace, identify your exit and then stand the bike up and fire it out with your head and eyes up. Remember, an empty roundabout is just an S-bend so take the shortest line through, this keeps lean angles to a minimum and you can get back on the gas quickly and safely. 

Remember to check your mirrors or look over your shoulder before changing lanes on the roundabout. 

Make progress

Roundabout exits are a great place to look for overtakes as traffic speeds are low and the curvature of the road can open up views ahead – giving you a chance to make useful progress.

Watch for gravel and debris

Road surfaces on roundabouts should always be treated with caution and big lean angles are a recipe for an embarrassing disaster. Watch out for gravel around the edges of the entry and exit points. Diesel spills are another roundabout hazard, especially in the wet. Concentrate on getting in safely and save your speed for a sharp exit.

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