Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Roundabout samaritans

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This is the roundabout at the end of Maidenhead bridge. Several of my regular rides bring me back to here, heading northwards along Sustrans regional route 52.

The conventional approach is along Guards Club Road, the small road joining the roundabout from the south. To the left and right is the A4, which is almost always busy. Ahead is Ray Mead Road (the A4094) which isn't quite so busy, but at certain times of the day it will also have a queue waiting to join the roundabout.

Following the cycle route northwards involves crossing the A4 and continuing along Ray Mead Road beside the river. One option would be to dismount and walk the bike across the A4. There is a pedestrian island to help, but doing that seems a bit wimpy, and I'd much rather keep riding.

The trouble is that there is usually a steady stream of traffic entering and leaving the roundabout from the three busier roads. Joining from a minor road can involve quite a long wait, and it is very rare for a car driver to give way and let me out on the bike.

However, I've discovered that I can also nip through the hotel car park on the right. That means that I join the A4 just a few yards before it joins the roundabout. If I do that, I find that almost immediately a driver will drop back, leaving a gap for me to join the main road, and wave me out. It happens almost every time. While it won't necessarily be the first car that lets me out, it's usually within the first three or four.

At the roundabout drivers are conforming to the stereotype of not giving any quarter, but just a few feet away they behave quite differently. I have no idea why this works, but each time it saves me a frustrating wait at the roundabout. More importantly, each time it happens is like being given a little treat. Whatever the reason, it's a small pleasure on the ride that I've started to look forward to whenever I ride this way.

1 comment:

Martin said...

Negotiating a roundabout needs more concentration and brings higher stress levels; maybe motorists are going to be less likely to welcome the extra complication of letting a bicycle pull out.