Dear Mayor Brainard:
I love roundabouts. I hate roundabouts.
If you are cycling ‘in the flow’ of traffic, then roundabouts are pretty easy. The bikes & cars are moving at similar speeds. Everyone is looking around, being aware of one another. In hundreds of group rides and hundreds of roundabout traversals, I’ve never seen a collision- and only a few close calls.
If, on the opther hand, you are traveling on the "bike path", then roundabouts are a disaster. I tried riding the length of Hazel Dell Parkway, on the bike path / bike trail / glorified sidewalk, while pulling a Burley trailer with my daughter inside. I chose the bike path because we were riding slowly, only 15 mph. Plus, as a parent, you’ll trade expediency for any measure of safety.
The bike path along Hazel Dell is great. It has been paved well, the landscaping is nice. The surface is wide. You can ride blissfully for up to .5 miles.
Then it happens. You find yourself at a roundabout: not ‘in’ the roundabout, but somewhere in orbit, outside the roundabout. The glorified sidewalk leads you away from the roundabout. You cross by making a sharp, 90-degree turn. You leave the sidewalk, cross one lane of traffic, cross another lane of traffic, and then make the reverse sharp 90 to continue on the ‘trail’. If there is traffic in the roundabout, it’s hard to tell if the cars are circling, or exiting the roundabout, coming toward you (or your little girl). This is too hard to describe. You gotta try it to believe it.
To get across, there must be zero cars in the vicinity of the roundabout: because nobody yields to a biker on the sidewalk.
Some day, the roundabout will open at 106th & Keystone. Some day, we’ll ride our bikes to school on 106th. We won’t be riding on the fake bike path. We’ll be in the flow of traffic, with battle armor on if necessary.
Thanks for the roundabouts, Mr. Mayor. Now, about those glorified sidewalks………..
The Carmel Cyclist