How do these new “Dutch-style roundabouts” which are arriving in France work? – Evening edition West-France

By the evening edition.

Rennes, Brest, more recently Clermont-Ferrand, and soon Lille… For several months, these metropolises have been investing in so-called “Dutch-style” roundabouts where cyclists and motorists are supposed to coexist in complete safety. But do you know how they work?

A “Dutch-style” roundabout was inaugurated a few days ago at the Carrefour des Carmes, in Clermont-Ferrand, in Puy-de-Dôme, after a year of work. A first in this city which now intends to require motorists to review their driving habits and above all to preserve the safety of soft mobility users in these dangerous areas where accidents, sometimes dramatic, number in the thousands each year in France.

In the North, in Seclin this time, a similar project costing one million euros will be launched by the Lille metropolis on June 3 for a period of six months. With the development of the bicycle and other means of gentle mobility such as the electric scooter, particularly since the Covid pandemic which saw the explosion in the sale of two-wheelers, cohabitation on the road has become a real issue for the respect and safety of all. And the cities are taking it over.

Read also: INVESTIGATION. More and more bikes on the streets: how cities are adapting

In our urban jungles, the principle of the “Dutch-style” roundabout, born in the Netherlands as its name suggests, is gaining ground. It is simple: pedestrians and bicycles have priority and, above all, isolated from car traffic. The roundabout includes three distinct zones separated by colored ground markings, its own signage, with a two-way space dedicated to cyclists, another for pedestrians and a third, in the middle, for cars. There are two “give way” when you drive your car: a first for pedestrians then a second, five meters further, for cyclists, both at the entrance and at the entrance. at the exit of the roundabout.

An example of a so-called “Dutch-style” roundabout. (Photo: Remke Luitjes / iStock)

It is not only in Puy-de-Dôme or in the North that these investments are being considered or carried out. The people of Rennes have known for several months the famous Gayeulles roundabout, unique in the Great West. With 13,000 vehicles using it every day, coming from five access routes, it is one of the busiest northern entrances to the city. By cars, but not only that… Between the three nearby schools, the Gayeulles park or the proximity of an ice rink, the safety of pedestrians and cyclists (twice as many in Rennes over the past four years) was not always assured. Thus, after an experiment which lasted two years, the “Dutch style” arrangements were made permanent. Four months of work and 600,000 euros were necessary. Delegations from Paris or Quimper intend to draw inspiration from it.

“That’s community life”

Return to the Carmes crossroads, in Clermont-Ferrand. The municipality made a decision to create this space (because it is needed) by removing parking spaces, replanting nearly 80 trees (“dewaterproofing” of the soil and revegetation often accompany these projects) for a total cost estimated at 10 millions of euros. The City does not intend to stop there: this roundabout already connects several existing cycle routes, but branches towards the outlines of future cycle paths are planned. Thus, 365 kilometers of developments dedicated to cycling are planned by 2028 in the metropolis.

Read also: TESTIMONIALS. Motorists, cyclists, pedestrians… In the city, “the law of the strongest”?

At the exit of the roundabout, visibility is better for motorists, since cyclists and pedestrians find themselves perpendicular. (Photo: Ouest-France)

In the meantime, everyone is wary and seems to be moving slowly on this new type of roundabout: “It’s catastrophic, it’s very narrow for us, we’ll have to get used to it”testified a motorist on the microphone of France Blue. “It’s going to be a mess, but it works in the Northern countries, so why not here”, said a cyclist. Another, in everyday life The mountain : “Everyone will have to concentrate at the start. We’re all going to have to slow down. But that’s community life, and everything will be better if there are fewer cars in town. »

A test period is planned in Clermont so that everyone can get their bearings calmly, before the municipal police are able to draw up reports when a car refuses priority to others.

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