During an average week in Australia, about 3.74 million people ride a bike for transport or recreation. Those are the findings of the National Cycling Participation Survey 2017, with rates highest in the Northern Territory and the ACT (http://www.bicyclecouncil.com.au/publication/national-cycling-participation-survey-2017).
Yet the road is all too often a dangerous place for cyclists. In 2017, ABC News reported on a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia that claimed cyclists in Victoria were suffering more serious injuries than ever before (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-11/why-are-more-cyclists-suffering-serious-injuries-on-the-road/8886930).
Could the innovative “peanutabout” concept play a part in improving the safety of cyclists?
What is a “Peanutabout?”
Its name is hard to forget, but it’s a safe bet to say most people in Australia haven’t yet heard of the “peanutabout”.
The idea originated in Boston, Massachusetts, a high-risk city for cyclists. Inman Square is a complicated seven-way intersection where Hampshire Street – one of Boston’s busiest streets for cyclists – crosses at an angle with Cambridge Street. In 2016, bicycle advocate Anne Lusk approached the Boston Cyclists Union with the idea of a peanut-shaped roundabout in the square. The idea would allow cyclists to travel through the square with little to no stopping, exiting at the street they want.
An easy way to picture the concept is to watch this animated video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEJf6rh_h8s.
Could it work in Australia?
Despite its vast landscapes and quiet roads, Australia is a country with its share of complicated intersections. There’s the Weaver in Blacktown, Sydney, which has seven connecting roads (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-20/sydney-driving-at-these-complicated-intersections-is-a-nightmare/9652668). In Melbourne, the intersection of Princes Highway, Police Road and Springvale Road is regarded as one of the state’s most notorious spots for crashes (https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/the-seven-worst-intersections-for-crashes-in-victoria-20140528-394o9.html). It’s worth asking if for such intersections, “peanutabouts” might provide a viable solution.
Who benefits from them?
In an article for Boston Cyclists Union, Steven Bercu stated some benefits of the peanut-shaped intersection for Inman Square. He said the design benefitted drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, with fewer conflict points, slower speeds, elevated cycle tracks and “European-style” protected crossings. To read the full article visit https://bostoncyclistsunion.org/the-inman-square-peanutabout-birth-of-an-innovative-design-solution.
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Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: September 5, 2018.