As you've likely noticed, round-abouts are popping up on several of our common riding routes, most notably Everett and Hunt Club Roads. There is also one in Mt. Horeb as part of the Madison route. Although these are not common in the states, they are a staple of European road construction and traffic statistics bear out their efficacy with regard to traffic flow and reduction in incidents.
However, since many people have seldom or never encountered them, the "rules of the road" aren't always clear when it comes to round-abouts. The following tips apply to all vehicle users, both cyclists and drivers.First, vehicles in the round-about have the right-of-way. Ever noticed the sign that marks the entry to the round-about? It says "YIELD". That doesn't mean you don't have to stop if you can get there first, it means you need to stop for vehicles already there and not proceed until you can do so safely without impeding other users. It is important to look for traffic not just coming from the right and left, but also traffic coming from the opposite direction you are headed and intending to go all the way around the round-about to make a left-hand turn. Secondly, if you are in the round-about you need to keep moving.
Obviously, its important to keep your head up and be sure that no one entering the round-about is doing so incorrectly or in an unsafe manner, but it is your right to keep moving and their obligation to stop and wait. With both bikes and cars, enter the round-about at an appropriate speed that will require minimal braking or rapid acceleration. Doing so will keep traffic flowing smoothly and help everyone to keep the rubber side down!