Rules of the Road: How do I bicycle safely through a roundabout?


Question: With the new roundabouts opening on State Street, Northwest Avenue and other locations in Bellingham, how do motorists and bicyclists share a roundabout?

Answer: As a bicyclist, you have two options. You can ride through the roundabout as a vehicle or use the sidewalk and crosswalks as a pedestrian.

When riding through, ride in the center of the lane. Do not ride to the right of vehicles as that would put you in danger of being cut off by a car exiting the roundabout.

If you decide to use the sidewalk, ride up the ramp to get onto the sidewalk, yield to pedestrians, and stop before entering the crosswalk.

As a motorist, recognize that the safest position for a bicyclist is to ride in the center of the lane. Don't attempt to pass a bicyclist when travelling through the roundabout. Roundabouts are designed to naturally slow traffic to around 15 mph, a perfect speed for bicyclists and motorists to share the road safely.

At a roundabout, just like all intersections, motorists and bicyclists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.


Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices. This week answers come from Kim Brown, the transportation options coordinator for the city of Bellingham, after receiving many inquiries on roundabouts and bicycles.

For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to

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