We have had a few enquiries about so-called “mini-roundabouts” and their appearance in local streets in Perth. They are featuring in the fairly new Low Cost Urban Road Safety Program by Main Roads, which aims to slow speeds in local streets and reduce crashes at intersections. The program was piloted with the City of Vincent in 2020/21, and is intended to rollout across Perth over the next 20 years at a cost of around $5 million per year, funded by the Road Trauma Trust Account.
Since reviewing recently updated Austroads Guidance on roundabouts, speaking with our Transport Advisory Group and other transport advocates, and considering academic literature on their efficacy, we understand roundabouts may make intersections safer for people in cars, but seem to be unsafe for people riding bikes unless the speeds of vehicles are around 20kph. The overall recommendation seems to be to keep them away from places where lots of people will be riding bikes – which would include the Long Term Cycle Network and local residential streets.
A study conducted by the Monash Institute of Transport Studies on the roll out of mini-roundabouts across the City of Monash has influenced the development of the program, however the subsequent report cautions that there was insufficient data to assess the safety of the treatments for cyclists, with the final line of the paper warning “mini-roundabouts may not be appropriate in areas with high cyclist movements on local roads.”
To find out more about the program, WestCycle met with staff who had developed the program at Main Roads. Given our concerns for the safety of people using bikes in the treatment areas, we were keen to hear how the program was being evaluated, and what impact the mini-roundabouts were having on people walking and riding, including if where people ride and the number of people riding has changed as a result of the interventions.
Our meeting was productive, with Main Roads staff committing to sharing the data they have with us, as well as the Department of Transport. More quantitative and qualitative data specifically focused on the impacts on people walking and riding may need to be collected to get a complete picture of the impact of the Low Cost Urban Road Safety Program pilot in the City of Vincent. WestCycle believe this additional data would greatly enhance the development of the program, and help to ensure that any changes made to local streets result in a better, safer outcome for people using bikes and walking in residential areas.
More information here: