Crossing the Ring Road

Although most cycling is within cities, there’s no reason why the outer estates should be cut off, and every reason to encourage people to cycle out into the countryside. In an ideal world, there would be excellent tracks, bridges and tunnels alongside the main roads, but sometimes there isn’t space. Quite often the existing junction is a simple oversized roundabout. How do we make that cycle-friendly?

This is a sketch design for a roundabout to the north of Oxford, where Banbury Road crosses the ring road. A number of Oxford’s peripheral roundabouts have already been signalled, and a couple have had lanes cut through the middle (known as hamburger roundabouts or throughabouts). But the best that’s been achieved for cycling is staggered Toucan crossings. Can we do better?

The cunning aspect of the design is skewing the straight-ahead throughabout lanes, so there’s a gap between the two exit lanes. When traffic is flowing from the ring road entries (east-west), there should be very little traffic wanting to use the conventional roundabout exit lanes. So those exits can have a red signal, for cyclists and pedestrians to cross. When traffic is flowing from the radial entries (north-south), the other ring-road lanes all have a red signal, for cyclists and pedestrians to complete the crossing. With good separation between the two crossings, they don’t need to be staggered.

Original aerial photography from Google Maps