Priority behavior observed at bicycle crossings on roundabouts with separate cycle paths

August 14th 2015
This study aims at gaining a better insight in the way drivers of motor vehicles and cyclists interact at roundabouts with separated cycle paths in order to gain a better understanding of traffic safety issues of cyclists at roundabouts. To this aim, interactions between cyclists and motor vehicle drivers are observed at six roundabouts, three of which have priority for cyclists and three with no priority for cyclists. Using a standardized observation form, detailed information about 165 interactions has been collected in a structured way. The way the interaction was resolved, and variables that have an impact on the interaction process  are identified using descriptive statistics and logistic regression models.
The observations show that there are substantial differences between both types of roundabouts concerning the way cyclists and motor vehicle drivers interact with each other. At roundabouts with priority for cyclists, the cyclist usually gets priority from the motor vehicle driver. At roundabouts with no priority for cyclists, the motor vehicle driver usually leaves priority to the cyclist, but on the other hand also situations where the motor vehicle driver takes his/her priority are quite frequent. At both types of roundabouts, the cyclist goes first in the majority of the interactions. The difference between both types of roundabouts is significant, but rather limited in size. When the motor vehicle driver looks in the direction of the cyclist, the probability that the cyclist goes first increases significantly. The probability that the cyclist goes first also increases significantly when the cyclist is male. The latter appears to be mainly caused by significant differences between male and female drivers at roundabouts without priority for cyclists. At roundabouts without priority for cyclists, motor vehicle drivers more frequently do not get their priority from the male cyclist, while the motor vehicle driver also leaves priority to the male cyclist more often, and takes his/her priority less frequent when the cyclist is male compared to when the cyclist is female. It is also remarkable that the share of motor vehicle drivers who do not use the direction indicator is rather high (29%).
Generally, there seems to be a lot of heterogeneity in interactions between cyclists and motor vehicle drivers, especially at roundabouts without priority for cyclists. This is a potential risk for the safety of the cyclists. The results should however be considered as first indications, and further research is highly recommended.




The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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