I think I may have mentioned in the past that Bigtown’s drivers take a somewhat freestyle approach to roundabouts. On the big ones, indicating is optional (and bikes are invisible, but that’s standard issue for most of the UK), and on the little pimplebouts pretty much anything goes: nobody appears to have any idea who might have right of way in any given situation so you might as well just wing it and see what happens.
As I was commiserating with a fellow cyclist on the subject – we had both had more than usually boneheaded interactions with our fellow road users, although in my case, unusually, the problem was that two drivers on a three-arm roundabout had decided to stop for each other and in the end it was me who went as the others appeared to be waiting for nightfall before either of them moved – I remembered a story one of my fellow cycling campaign members had told me. She had overheard two older drivers in Bigtown discussing a new (and by ‘new’ I mean ‘installed some time early last century’) roundabout. ‘Oh, I just take no notice of it,’ one of them said.
Thinking about it, that seemed to explain everything. If half the drivers are behaving as if there is no roundabout, then a lot of their more bizarre decisions make a bit more sense. It might also explain why they’ve effectively cut one larger roundabout in half and flattened the middle circle, presumably so that Mrs Miggins can plough through it in her 20-year-old Ford Fiesta without getting tangled in the sheets people hang on it to announce significant birthdays*
Of course, having thought I’d cracked it, my new theory failed to explain why a driver might be waiting at a side road today, see me coming, and then pull out in front of me anyway, unless she was anticipating a roundabout that had not yet been built. So I shall just continue to cycle as if anything and everything could happen at any minute. It seems the safest way.
* Is this just a Bigtown thing? Would anyone ever be delighted to discover that their impending 40th had been announced through the medium of a crumpled sheet to the assembled masses at the local Macdonalds?