Safety at roundabouts in built-up areas

Small roundabouts outside built-up areas are considered to be extremely safe traffic systems both in Germany and abroad. In built-up areas, however, safety problems can occur, particularly with bicycles. A study commissioned by the UDV (German Insurers Accident Research) therefore examined whether roundabouts designed in accordance with the current guidelines have shortcomings in terms of safety. The study involved both an analysis of the accidents that occurred over a period of six years at all roundabouts in North Rhine-Westphalia and a detailed investigation of 100 roundabouts all over Germany. In addition, road users‘ behavior was observed at ten roundabouts.

It emerged that, even in built-up areas, roundabouts are a safer option than intersections with or without traffic signals. However, the safety of cyclists cannot always be improved. In particular, cycle paths around the perimeter of roundabouts can lead to safety problems when the cyclists are not required to wait at the entry and exit roads. The safest form of guidance for cyclists at roundabouts is to be involved in mixed traffic on the circular roadway. Particularly when the roundabout‘s inner ring is clearly raised above the level of the roadway, a high level of safety can be achieved for cyclists even when traffic volumes are high.