Motorcycle roundabouts and junctions - tips and life savers

Motorcycle in traffic in town

Now that summer is on the way, many motorcyclists will be taking to the roads across Scotland. Whether it is a daily commute or using a bike for pleasure to take in Scotland’s scenic beauty, motorcycling throws up some unique dangers which may not be apparent to other road users.

A considerable number of road accidents involving motorcycles occur at roundabouts or junctions. THINK! report that 30 motorcyclists are killed or injured every day at junctions.

Often, the reason for the accident is that the offending driver simply did not see the motorcycle on the roundabout or approaching the junction, known as either 'LBFS' - 'looked but failed to see; or more commonly as a SMIDSY 'sorry mate, I didn't see you'

Lorry driver crashes into motorbike as “he didn’t see him”

Our client, Lewis Smith, was riding his motorcycle in Aberdeen when he was hit by a lorry pulling out of a junction, knocking him off his bike, as the driver failed to see him.

Lewis suffered serious injuries including a bleed in the brain, dislocation of his collarbone and he suffers from on-going issues with his memory.

In another case, a motorcyclist was travelling around a roundabout. The car driver looked straight at our client when he drove onto the roundabout and hit her, instead of giving way. The car driver then claimed the accident was our client’s fault as she was going too fast, which was proven to be untrue.

So what can be done to make your trip as safe - and enjoyable - as it can be?

Tips for motorcyclists tackling roundabouts and junctions

Our motorcycle law experts at Digby Brown have put together the following tips for motorcyclists approaching roundabouts and junctions – which may just make all the difference to your safety.

Make yourself visible

They key on approach to and entering a roundabout or junction is to make yourself as visible as possible.

On approach to a roundabout or junction, look well ahead for other traffic or warning signs or any other possible hazard on the road, such as white lines, hatched markings, or manhole covers, all of which can be slippery.

This will allow you the necessary time to get a clear picture of the layout of the roundabout or if a driver is approaching a junction and make any adjustments to your speed and position in good time.

Take up a central position in the road as far as is safe to do so.

The same advice applies on the approach to a normal road junction. Make yourself as visible as possible by taking up as central a position in the road as possible. Make your intentions as clear as possible to other road users. Most importantly, only proceed when it is safe to do so.

Be as prepared as possible

Select the correct lane as soon as you are able to when approaching a roundabout. Do not move from the lane unless absolutely necessary. In the event that you do have to move from the lane, ensure that you give those around you plenty of warning.

If safe to do so, look across the roundabout to the exit you intend to take. This will allow you to plan and take the safest route around the roundabout.

When approaching a junction, make up your mind early as to the direction you intend to go. Signal at the appropriate time and be aware of any emerging hazards such as a vehicle approaching in the opposite direction of a pedestrian at the side of the road.

Be aware of potential hazards

It is important to be aware of potential hazards associated with roundabouts and junctions. Pedestrians may enter the roadway unexpectedly. In many urban areas pedestrian crossings are located in close proximity to roundabouts. Pedestrians have priority on zebra crossings, so traffic approaching a crossing may need to stop abruptly.

Cyclists and horse riders often keep to the outside of the roundabout even if they are turning right. Take extra care and allow them plenty of room.

Long vehicles, due to their length, may require to take a different course as they approach and enter a roundabout. Be wary of the rear of their vehicles encroaching into your lane.

Statistics shown that many road users are unaware of how to approach and navigate a roundabout properly. Always be prepared for vehicles to cross your path or not to take the expected exit. As a vulnerable road user, motorcyclists need to try and expect the unexpected.

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident while at a roundabout or junction, Digby Brown are here to help. The importance of getting good advice cannot be stressed enough. Our dedicated motorcycle law team will be happy to help in whatever way they can.