The Magic Cycling Roundabout

OK, so it’s not technically magic, but if something like this appeared in Britain, with our current levels of bureaucratic inertia, I’d assume supernatural causes.

The Hovenring roundabout in Eindhoven is a magnificent example of a cycle development brought about by human imagination, enlightened politicians and brilliant construction.

In its centre is a white pylon standing 70 meters tall, beneath which 24 cables are attached to support the roundabout. The roads underneath are as usable as ever, but have been dug down slightly to reduce the inclines cyclists must ascend when mounting the roundabout.

More information about the roundabout can be found here, in Bicycle Dutch’s informative blog. I particularly liked this comment:

This floating roundabout is not something that exists by itself. It is part of an elaborate cycle network. It would be pretty useless to have a ring like this without an underlying connected cycle network so people can actually get to this piece of remarkable infrastructure.

This has been a constant message from Cycle Lifestyle in response to the ‘Space for Cycling’ and ‘Go Dutch’ campaigns being run by the London Cycling Campaign; these campaigns are calling for segregated cycling facilities on major roads and junctions in the capital.

We think the LCC have only got it part right: what is most important is a cycling network. New facilities on main roads shouldn’t be put in as a rule – this is an unrealistic and potentially wasteful aim – but certainly should where those facilities add value to a network of routes.

The Hovenring roundabout also reveals a subtle nuance involving the word ‘space’. ‘Space for cycling’ doesn’t always have to mean space taken away from cars for cycling, which seems to be the mantra of many hardcore cyclists. Space for cycling can mean adding space for cycling to the existing infrastructure; that way, everyone’s a winner.

And, most importantly, at least for now and in Britain especially, less confrontational schemes are much more likely to see the light of day.

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