Roundabouts often cause motorbike students some issues during training. There can be an increased feeling of vulnerability as traffic is moving around with you and it can be confusing how to position and where / when to make protective observations. Other road users getting it wrong around us is an additional hazard.
First be aware of the Highway Code rules for roundabouts.
Motorcyclists can then employ the standard OSM-PSL routine at roundabouts to help them approach and navigate around them.
- Ahead for the roundabout.
- Take in the information on signs as to where exits are and match it to the roundabout layout. Multiple signs on the approach may show first any major destinations followed by another sign for local destinations.
- Do you need to move into a specific lane for your exit? Check signs and the lane markings for this information.
- Check for other traffic on and approaching the roundabout, particularly from the right but do not become target fixated only to the right. Any other exit that you will pass in front of, you should be aware of who is approaching in case they do not stop and give way to you.
- Check your mirrors before any reduction of speed.
Do you need to signal on the approach to the roundabout? The baseline process to work from is
- Exit 1 left requires a left indicator
- Any other exit up to and including the 12 o’clock position is treated as a straight ahead and does not require an indicator on the approach
- Anything after the 12 o’clock position requires a right indicator.
There are of course exceptions.
- Some roundabouts you will find exit 1 in the 12 o’clock position. A left indicator on approach makes it very clear to other road users which exit you will be taking.
- If there are no right turns at a roundabout, only a left and a straight ahead, then using the right indicator for the straight ahead may mislead other road users to think you are going all the way around the roundabout.
Manoeuvre / Position
If the roundabout has only 1 lane on the approach use (unless other situations at the roundabout over-ride this)
- Position 1 within the lane for left exit 1
- Position 2, dominant in the lane for straight aheads
- Position 3 within the lane for right turns
Also use the relevant lifesaver for the blindspot you will be moving into before moving position and if you are moving into a specific lane on the approach to the roundabout use a lifesaver for the direction you are moving, before you move.
- Are you slowing down to just an appropriate speed to enter and navigate the roundabout or coming to a stop behind traffic waiting to enter or at the give way line?
- Slow down using the brakes, not just engine braking. This informs other road users you are slowing down with the brake light.
- Give priority to traffic approaching from your right, unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic lights.
- Watch out for all other road users already on the roundabout; be aware they may not be signalling correctly or at all.
- As you progress around the roundabout take care passing in front of other exits. You should be aware of who is approaching in case they do not stop and give way to you.
Students often think that entry onto the roundabout is the time to start significant acceleration. You should proceed around the roundabout at a consistent, safe speed such that you can stop or adapt should a situation arise AND that gives you time to change your indicators and get lifesavers in place for your exit.
Exiting the roundabout
Signal your intention to leave as you are passing the last exit before yours.
- For left exit 1 your indicator will already be on
- For straight-aheads bring the left indicator on as you are passing the last exit before yours.
- For right turns change your indicator from right to left as you are passing the last exit before yours.
Make a lifesaver. This often causes students some confusion as to where to look. Check out our detailed video here in this topic
- For left exit 1 you should not usually need an exit lifesaver but a situation where one should be considered (over the right shoulder ) is when another lane from off the roundabout also feeds into your exit and someone could be merging into your lane.
- For straight-aheads you need to consider where the most vulnerable large space is
- If we have the opportunity for someone to overtake us through the roundabout on our right then check the right blindspot.
- If we have the opportunity for someone to overtake us through the roundabout on our left then check the left blindspot.
- For right turns check your left blindspot before moving from the inside of the roundabout.
Multi Lane roundabouts
- These are designed so that by getting into the correct lane on the approach (reading signs and road markings) it will take us to our exit without having to move across into other lanes.
- Motorcyclists should be aware throughout the roundabout of other road users chopping with no warning into your lane when alongside or in front of you. This may well require additional lifesavers throughout particular large and complex roundabouts. Another reason to take things steady is to give time for these observations.
- Set the approach up as normal however,
- Straight ahead can be a nice dominant line without swooping massively to the left so you don’t mislead anyone in that exit that you are going left, and they start to pull out.
- Turning right, motorcycles will need to go around the painted circle, not over it as it may be slippy, particularly if wet
- Cars may start to turn right across your path from considerably before their give way line
- When you are turning right a car behind you might think you are going straight ahead as you go further around the paint, and they start to turn in early behind you. A right life saver as you go around can help here
- There is usually not time to get an exit indicator on – you will have left the roundabout before it starts to flash
- Some mini roundabouts may be positioned as pairs – immediately after another one. Consider if the ‘standard’ approach indicator guidance may mislead someone at the 2nd roundabout.