Dutch roundabouts could bring changes to UK driving law

UK’s first Dutch-style roundabout in Cambridge.

Ever used a Dutch roundabout? You’d better buckle up. New government guidance could soon make them a much more common sight on our roads.

Dutch-style roundabouts are designed to give cyclists and pedestrians priority over drivers. This means you’d need to give way if a cyclist was using the designated bike lane.

But don’t worry, updates to driving laws and the Highway Code are already in discussion to help ensure we all know how to navigate the new system.

Dutch roundabouts

The UK’s first Dutch-style roundabout opened in Cambridge on 31st July 2020.

The roundabout features a red bicycle lane around the outside, with narrowed roads and pedestrian crossings on the entry and exits of junctions – all designed to slow traffic and make the roundabout safer for those on bike or foot.

It’s all part of a new government scheme aimed at encouraging more people to use greener forms of transport.

Speaking at the official opening of the Cambridge roundabout, Councillor Ian Bates said: “I am delighted to see the completion of improvements to this roundabout, which aim to improve safety at this busy junction and encourage more people to walk and cycle.

“It is great to see Cambridgeshire leading the way in implementing the first truly Dutch inspired roundabout that improves safety for vulnerable users, ahead of recent nationally published Government guidance that strongly promotes this type of infrastructure.”

Updates to driving law

To help ensure safety standards on new road systems, the government is currently drafting some law changes.

These include changes to the Highway Code, which will soon see a hierarchy system put into place, giving new rights to pedestrians as well as introducing better protection for cyclists.

You may also be fined for cutting across those using a bike lane.

Mark Jackson, Chartered Legal Executive at Lime Solicitors said the new laws would ensure maximum safety for all road users.

He said: “Ideally, cyclists should be provided with their own paths, as pedestrians are, to keep vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians all separate from each other.

“But in areas where the space is not available for that, then mechanisms such as these Dutch roundabouts which help give priority to cyclists and give clear lines of segregation from other traffic, will certainly help.”

Have you noticed more bikes on your commute? Use these top tips to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe on the roads.

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