Round and round

5 03 2011

I love traffic circles.

They’re an efficient way to control the flow of traffic without lights and hassle of four way stops. They’re also a lot of fun on the bike. As long as everyone knows the rules. Which is rare. Especially when cars and bikes mix.

I'm always keenly aware when I enter this traffic circle

There’s one traffic circle on my early-season route. I approach it just as every car should, taking the lane to enter it, yielding to traffic already in the circle, then exit.

The problems come when motorists don’t know how to react to my presence.

I may love traffic circles, but I'd never try to ride through this one in Paris.

Some, like the transit bus driver last year, seem to think I don’t have any right to be there, and try to run me out of the circle. He got a nasty glower.

Others panic and stop, befuddled, screwing everybody else up all the way around the circle.

Always, though, I have to be on the alert that motorists simply won’t notice me, because they’re so freaked out by the whole traffic circle experience, they look right past me.

It’s always a nervous time approaching that circle, and I’m relieved when I swoop out the other side unscathed.