Roundabouts

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Why Does the City Install Roundabouts?

  • Safety-Roundabouts have been shown to reduce fatal and injury accidents as much as seventy five percent. The reduction in accidents is attributed to slower speeds and reduced number of conflict points (See Figure 2)
  • Low Maintenance-Eliminates maintenance costs associated with traffic signals which amount to approximately $3,500 per year per intersection. In addition, electricity costs are reduced with a savings of approximately $1,500 per year per intersection.
  • Reduced Delay-By yielding at the entry rather than stopping and waiting for a green light, delay is significantly reduced.
  • Capacity-Intersections Intersections with a high volume of left turns are better handled by a roundabout than a multi-phased traffic signal.
  • Environmental-A reduction in delay corresponds to a decrease in fuel consumption and air pollution.
  • Aesthetics-The central island provides an opportunity to beautify the intersection with landscaping.

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How Do I Drive A Roundabout?

  • Slow down at the YIELD sign, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists, and be prepared to stop if necessary. 
  • When you enter, yield to circulating traffic on the left, but do not stop if it is clear.
  • Upon passing the street prior to your exit, turn on your right turn signal and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists as you exit. (A conventional roundabout will have ONE-WAY signs mounted in the center island. They help guide traffic and indicate that you must drive to the right of the center island.)
  • Left turns are completed by traveling around the center island. (See Figure 3)

How Do I Drive Two-Lane Roundabouts?

  • Slow down and decide as early as possible which exit you want to take. The pavement markings and lane-use signs will guide you into the correct lane.  [insert a picture of pavement markings and lane use signs]

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  • Remember that not all multilane roundabouts have the same lane assignments. At some intersections, the left lane may be for left turns only, while the right lane is for through and right turn movements. At other intersections, drivers in the left lane may have the option to turn left or drive through. Generally, if you plan to make a left turn, you need to be in the left lane.  If you plan to make a right turn, you need be in the right lane.
  • As you approach a roundabout, keep right of the splitter island and yield to pedestrians and cyclist using the crosswalk. Yield to traffic already in the roundabout. Don’t enter next to vehicles in the roundabout, since they may use the next exit. When there is an adequate gap to your left, enter the roundabout.
  • If a semi-truck is beside you, give the semi-truck room.  
  • After you enter the roundabout, stay in your lane.  
  • As you reach your exit, use your turn signal, check for vehicles on your right.  Watch for and yield to pedestrians and cyclists at the crosswalk. Maintain a slow speed as you exit and accelerate when you are past the splitter island.

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What About Emergency Vehicles at Roundabouts?

  • If an emergency vehicle is approaching on another leg, wait for the emergency vehicle to use the roundabout before entering.
  • If an emergency vehicle approaches from behind or at an entrance and if the roadway in the roundabout is wide enough, you may be able to pull as far to the right as possible and allow the emergency vehicle to pass.  However, it is generally better to drive to your exit and pull to the right after you drive past the splitter island at your exit.

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