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Roundabouts are found all across Australia, in large cities and even in small regional towns. are a useful way to manage and keep the flow of traffic moving the traffic at intersections. Despite the usefulness, there are still warnings and dangers attributed to roundabouts across Australia. Usually this is due to human error. 

What is a Roundabout?

Let’s start with the basics. A roundabout is an island located in the centre of an intersection. It can be small, with a single lane, or it can be large with multiple lanes. In some cases, there can even be multiple roundabouts immediately beside each other.

The following signs indicate that you are approaching a roundabout:

The Basics of how to use a Roundabout 

When you approach the roundabout, you should clearly position your vehicle in the correct lane and also indicate if you will be turning left or right.

No matter from which direction you are approaching the roundabout from, you must slow down and give way to all vehicles that are already travelling through the roundabout. This includes all cars, trucks, motorbikes, bicycles and any towed vehicles such as a boat or a caravan.

Remember, another vehicle may enter from your left ahead of you. This means that you should be mindful of vehicles to your right and left in order to avoid any collision.

You should only enter the roundabout where there is a safe gap in the traffic – so to avoid a collision.

Remember: the law requires you to obey the traffic lane arrows and line markings when driving in or leaving a roundabout. If you need to change lanes you must indicate that you are changing lanes, as normal. Also as normal, you cannot cross over a single white line. Failure to do so could result in a fine and/ or demerit points.

It is a common debate as to whether or not you need to indicate when exiting a roundabout. The simple answer is yes, you do. When leaving the roundabout, you should indicate left to notify other drivers that you are leaving the roundabout. You can turn off the indicator as soon as you have left the roundabout. In Victoria (as an example) failing to do this action could result in a fine and/ or demerit points. 

Pedestrians and Roundabouts

Pedestrians only have right away if there is a pedestrian crossing. If there is no crossing at or close to the roundabout, then the pedestrian wishing to cross must give way to the vehicles. That said, drivers still should take care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian.

If there is a crossing, pedestrians should always use this to safely cross and wait for the green lights. Otherwise, they may find themselves with a fine for jaywalking. 

Cyclists/ Motorbike Riders and Roundabouts

Remember bicycles and motorbikes are entitled to use a full lane when they are travelling through a roundabout.

The big difference between bicycles and other vehicles is that a bicycle rider can use the left lane to turn right when there is a multi-lane roundabout. They should signal using their arm, as normal. To do this, the bicycle should give way to cars leaving the roundabout.

At night a bike rider must a front a read light and rear red reflector. Failure to have this equipped whilst riding at night could result in a fine and/ or demerit points.

You should always keep an eye out for motorbike and bicycle riders, especially when travelling through a roundabout. 

Common Accidents - Client Stories

It is estimated that there is approximately 37 cyclists killed on Australian roads each year with thousands sustaining injuries. A 2017 review into bicycle safety at roundabouts found that these transport accidents primarily occur at roundabouts.

Unfortunately, Maurice Blackburn has too often represented clients where they were riding a motorbike or bicycle and they were injured because another car has failed to give way to them when they were riding through a roundabout.

Our client, Guy, was riding his motorbike and was already travelling through the roundabout when a car failed to give way to him and crashed into him while attempting to enter the roundabout. Despite now more than 10 years having passed since his transport accident, he still now has pain and restrictions in his left leg. 

"A split second decision by someone not paying attention has cost me a great deal of pain and suffering for more than 10 years so please pay attention on the roads it’s not just you on them."


In another case, our client, John, was riding his bicycle through a single-lane roundabout. A car attempting to enter the roundabout failed to give way to him. John sustained a head injury as a result of this accident. 

"The decision of the driver to fail to give way through the roundabout resulted in him colliding with me on my bicycle. This incident has had considerable impact on my life over the past 2 and a half years. Not only are there ongoing physical limitations in the path to pre-injury life but it has also challenged my mental health and that of those in my support network."


Consequences of not Adhering to Roundabout Rules

Whilst some penalties have already been noted above, it is important to remember that not adhering to the road rules has repercussions, particularly if you cause a transport accident.

Failure to adhere to the relevant road rules could result in charges including carless or dangerous driving. The maximum penalty for carless driving is a fine and demerit ppoints. The maximum penalty for dangerous driving in Victoria is a prison sentence. 

Our Tips for Managing Roundabouts Safely

  • Keep an eye out for all vehicles that are entering and exiting the roundabout.
  • Watch out for pedestrians, bicycles, motorbikes and long vehicles (trucks or towed vehicles) when using roundabouts. Remember, in a car you are bigger and better protected than a motorbike or bicycle rider. If you hit them, you will injure them.
  • For motorbike riders, always wear your safety gear. This will provide better protection for you if you are involved in a transport accident.
  • For bicycle riders, where possible, try to wear brighter colours when riding. This may help other drivers see you more clearly. 

If you or a loved one have been injured on the road, we can help.

Use our free claim check tool to find out if you have a claim, or contact us today to speak with one of our expert road accident lawyers.

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