Dutch-style roundabouts prioritising cyclists could become the new normal after more planning applications submitted

The £2.3m Fendon road roundabout in Cambridge - Leon Neal/Getty Images
The £2.3m Fendon road roundabout in Cambridge - Leon Neal/Getty Images

Dutch-style roundabouts, which prioritise cyclists over cars, could become the new normal in Britain, as more applications are sent to the Department for Transport.

Essex county council has submitted proposals for new roundabouts in Braintree and Colchester, following on from the opening of Britain’s first Dutch-style junction in Cambridge this month.

The format, which has been used in Holland since 2010, means that cyclists have an outer ring on the structure, with cycle crossings over each of the four approach roads in a contrasting red surface.

Pedestrians use the pavement and have right of way on zebra crossings at every turn off.

Cars will find that the carriage width is narrower, designed to enforce slower approach and departure speeds.

Car waits for cyclist - Leon Neal/Getty Images
Car waits for cyclist - Leon Neal/Getty Images

In July, the Government set out its plans in its “vision for cycling and walking” document, saying “we will create more ‘Mini-Hollands’” as part of a £2 billion scheme to promote greener travel.

“We expect to stimulate a large number of proposals across the country, from which we will choose up to 12 willing non-London local authority areas, to benefit from intensive investment in mini-Holland schemes on the same model,” it said.

“The main focus will be on replacing short car trips.

“They must be places where cycling is currently low and where there is serious political commitment to dramatic change – not just for cyclists, but for everyone who lives and works there.”

But the scheme has not got off to a good start.

The £2.3m Fendon road roundabout in Cambridge was forced to close before it was officially opened after a car ploughed into a beacon while work was still under way.

Sam Davies, 51, chairman of the neighbourhood group Queen Edith's Community Forum, said the closure was unrelated to its design but instead was down to sheer “bad luck”.

Speaking about the new bids in Essex, Deputy leader of Essex Council, Kevin Bentley, said: "We believe these proposals meet the Government requirement to put forward schemes that could be transformative for residents.

"We want the schemes to encourage people to rethink how they make their local journeys in Safer, Greener, and Healthier ways, whether on foot or by bike, instead of opting for the car.

"Travel choice remains critical, but we want to ensure there are real options for the people of Essex, made easier by great infrastructure and cycle and walking-friendly routes, to help not only themselves and their families, but our communities and our environment."

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: "It is important that efforts are made to try and end the 'us versus them' narrative, whereby drivers are pitted against cyclists and vice-versa."