Well it's not like we didn't know this already, but thought the research might be of interest. The researcher works for the same company I do.
ROUNDABOUTS RISKY FOR CYCLISTS, PEDESTRIANS, MOTORCYCLISTS
Wellington, Feb 11 - Roundabouts are risky places for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians, according to research by Auckland University Master of Engineering student Nathan Harper.
Mr Harper recorded information about 95 urban roundabouts , ranging from simple single-lane intersections to the multi-lane roundabout at Panmure in Auckland. Roundabouts had a lower injury accident rate than other intersection types, including traffic lights, he said in a statement.
But cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians faced a significant injury crash risk at roundabouts. Cyclists were involved in 24 percent of injury accidents, with pedestrians in 15 percent and motorcyclists in 10 percent. ``These injury figures are disproportionate to the number of cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists who are on the roads. These users are more likely to be seriously injured in a crash, as they don't have the car to protect them in an accident,'' he said. Cars entering roundabouts and failing to give way caused 45 percent of injury accidents, with other accidents relating to loss of control (19 percent), rear end crashes (16 percent) and sideswipe crashes (5 percent).
The research aimed to make roads safer by predicting which planned roundabouts would be susceptible to accidents. The work, presented at transportation conferences in Wellington and Seattle, examined the geometry of the roundabout and traffic flows to predict accidents. It could be used to build accident prediction models to fit in with a new funding model from road funding agency, Transfund, aimed using accident prediction to fix problem areas before accidents happened, Mr Harper said.
His research is intended to be integrated with a major government-funded research project in the United States to examine roundabout installation. The US has traditionally been shy of roundabouts and now has only about 300 such intersections, compared to about 500 in this country.
Roundabouts were a European concept and had been resisted in the US so far because of concerns for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, and also because people there did not understand them, Mr Harper said. Roundabouts worked best in lower traffic flow areas and in situations without a dominant road.
As well as doing his studies, Mr Harper has a full-time job in the traffic engineering department at Opus International Consultants in Auckland. The company sponsored him during postgraduate studies as part of a bright future enterprise scholarship, administered by the Foundation for Science, Research and Technology.