The Beach St. Port Melbourne roundabout  is among the worst roundabouts for cyclists in Melbourne.

The Beach St. Port Melbourne roundabout is among the worst roundabouts for cyclists in Melbourne. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

Australian roundabouts are among the most dangerous for cyclists in the Western world, while in Victoria they are the scene of more than one in 10 crashes between a motor vehicle and a cyclist, a report for government has found.

And inner Melbourne, where cycling is booming, is especially perilous. Between 2006 and 2009 one in every two crashes at a roundabout in Melbourne's eight inner-city municipalities involved a cyclist, a related study found.

A report released on Thursday found Australian roundabouts are typically designed to maximise traffic flow, not safety. It recommended design changes to reduce driver speed and risk to cyclists. Proposed changes, largely modelled on European roundabouts, include creating tighter curves, reducing visibility to the right to encourage drivers to slow down and look more carefully, and directing cyclists to ''claim the lane'', not hug the gutter.

'Fast motor vehicles and bicycles at roundabouts are not a good mix,' the study noted.

'Fast motor vehicles and bicycles at roundabouts are not a good mix,' the study noted.

The report's findings were applauded by Bicycle Network Victoria, although spokesman Garry Brennan said change was long overdue. ''For years we've been making the point that the Australian style of roundabout is completely wrong because drivers do not have to slow down to go through them,'' Mr Brennan said.

But the RACV's manager of roads and traffic, Dave Jones, urged caution. ''We're keen for proper, structured trials so we can truly know a design is working,'' he said. ''It's important a council doesn't take up a design they've seen in Europe and plonk it here.''

Cyclists are heavily over-represented in crash statistics at Australian roundabouts. In Victoria, just 3 per cent of all reported crashes in 2006-10 happened at a roundabout, but more than 12 per cent of those involved a cyclist, VicRoads crash statistics show.

In all, 241 cyclists were hit while riding through a roundabout, 71 were seriously injured and one was killed. In inner Melbourne, the statistics are far worse - 49 per cent of crashes at roundabouts between 2006 and 2009 involved a cyclist, a 2012 study by Bob Cumming of Road Safety Audits found.

Analysis of the crashes found that in almost nine in 10 cases, the motorist entered the roundabout before a cyclist had exited - described in research as ''the 'looked but failed to see' phenomenon''.

Other causes included the cyclist being sideswiped by an overtaking vehicle on approach.

The research report, on the effectiveness of on-road bicycle lanes in Australian and New Zealand roundabouts, was released on Thursday by Austroads, an association of national roads authorities including VicRoads.

Roundabouts should be changed so vehicles travel at a ''desirable'' speed of 15 to 30km/h - about the same speed as a cyclist. ''Fast motor vehicles and bicycles at roundabouts are not a good mix,'' the study noted.

VicRoads did not respond to questions about which roundabouts in Melbourne were in line to be redesigned, but said its Road Safety Strategy 2013-16 included plans to alter roundabouts ''to give greater safety to cyclists''.