Tips for riding roundabouts safely

Roundabouts are a particular danger for riders not being seen by drivers as this video clearly shows.

Even though rider Brendan Sellers of Adelaide is wearing bright red and white leathers and is on a bright red Kawasaki Ninja on a clear and sunny day, the Honda sedan driver just drives straight out in front of him.

Peachey/petherton roundabout tuesday 20-11-18 @ 4:30pm.Honda driver blatently failed to give-way as can be seen by his position entering the roundabout (as far left as he could go).He almost caused a severe accident.Open your eyes i have a right to return home safely as every one does, the 2 seconds they saved could have cost me dearly with no recourse for thier blatant stupidity

Publiée par Brendan Sellers sur Mercredi 21 novembre 2018

Brendan posted the video on Dashcams Adelaide to alert drivers to open their eyes.

“I have a right to return home safely as every one does,” he writes. “The two seconds they saved could have cost me dearly with no recourse for their blatant stupidity.”

Many riders have experienced similar situations at roundabouts and wonder why drivers either don’t see us or deliberately ignore us.

While roundabouts were designed to be safer than 90-degree intersections, even Austroads has acknowledged the danger for riders.

They have called for physical changes to roundabouts to make them safer for vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, scooterists and cyclists. Click here to read more.


There can be a number of reasons why vehicles drive out in front of riders that can be attributed to both the nature of a roundabout and the attitude of drivers.

Traffic flow

Austroads says Australian roundabouts are designed to allow plenty of vision so traffic can continue to flow, rather than coming to a complete stop every time.

They rarely have stop signs, only give-away or simply roundabout signs.roundabouts signs

This means drivers are not preparing or hoping to come to a full stop. They are anticipating a smooth flow through the roundabout. Some even straight-line the roundabout without slowing at all.

Approaching speed

At a crossroads intersection, drivers can have a difficult time estimating the approaching speed of a rider coming at them from a 90-degree angle.

When the rider is changing direction around a roundabout, it may be even more difficult to estimate their approach speed, so drivers can misjudge and drive out in front of them.

Blind spots

Since the rider isn’t approaching them from 90 degrees, but more like 60 degrees, that places them in the car’s A-pillar blind spot not in the driver’s window.

With curtain airbags in many modern cars, this pillar is thick and can easily obscure a narrow motorcycle.

SMIDSY crash roundabouts
Jaguar has recognised this problem with their “invisible” pillars. Click here to read more.

No threat

Of course, there is also the theory that a small motorcycle is not received as much of a threat compared with a vehicle the same size or bigger.

Consequently, some drivers have a tendency to miscalculate the risks.

There is also less of a perceived risk when the impending crash is more of a glancing blow of “sideswipe” because of the approach angle on a roundabout, rather than a head-in or t-bone crash at a crossroads intersection.


We’ve heard it all before, but we need to approach a roundabout the same way we approach any riding – ride like everyone else is out to get you!

There are many other scenarios at roundabouts other than the one above. All require a lot of caution and attention.

Roundabouts road safety rules
A typical sideswipe crash at a roundabout

Slow and cautious

That means a slow and cautious approach. Grab a lower gear and cover your gently apply the brakes.

If you need to stop you have already set up the brakes and just need to apply more pressure.

If you need to avoid a car by speeding up, then you have the right gear selected.

Look left right and behind

Obviously you need to look to your right to slow for traffic on the roundabout (opposite in left-drive countries).

But you also need to look left for vehicles stealing your right of way. Make sure you look the driver right in the eye to see that they have actually seen you.

If they haven’t, maybe give a quick blast of the horn to attract their attention. Don’t flash your lights was this is both illegal and could give the wrong impression that you are letting them go in front of you.


You also need eyes in the back of your head!

Many riders are rear-ended at roundabouts. This is because they may be cautiously approaching and probably stopping while the traffic behind is anticipating continued progress and shunt the rider from behind.

Loud pipes?

The rider in the top video vents his frustration by loudly revving his bike. That really does nothing to alert the driver and it’s after the incident, anyway.

If you believe drivers have not seen you, a short blast on the horn will do more to attract attention than a loud exhaust. But that’s another debate!


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