A roundabout is a standard form of traffic control that is gaining traction across North America as the preferred treatment at intersections. A modern roundabout is a circular intersection with yield at entry. It promotes safe and efficient traffic flow. They were introduced in the U.K., but are gaining more widespread use in North America, with implementation in many U.S. states and several Canadian provinces. Typical characteristics of a modern roundabout include:
- Yield at Entry
- One-Way Travel around the central island (counterclockwise)
- Slower Speeds
Roundabouts have the potential to reduce collisions, traffic delays and fuel consumption resulting in improved air quality through reduced vehicle emissions.
While a roundabout would be new to many in our region, roundabouts are well-proven in design and operation, and have consistently imporved the operation and safety of many intersections. More details will follow on the use of roundabouts in Morden but here is some excellent information about roundabouts in general.
- Slow down as you approach the roundabout.
- Choose the correct entry lane.
- Watch for pedestrians crossing the roadway when approaching or exiting a roundabout.
- Traffic in the roundabout has the right-of-way.
- Give large vehicles extra space to manoeuvre.
- Avoid passing other vehicles in the roundabout.
- Signal your exit.
Benefits of roundabouts
Roundabouts have a number of benefits over traditional intersections including:
- Improved safety – Reducing the number of vehicular conflict points and reducing vehicular speeds, in turn, reduces the potential for severe crashes and serious injury.
- Reduced speeds – A reduction in speed is necessary to negotiate the roundabout, whereas vehicles may not slow down during the green phase of a traffic signal.
- Increased capacity – A high volume of left turning vehicles is better handled by a roundabout than a multi-phased traffic signal.
- Fewer stops and reduced delays – Delay is significantly reduced by yielding at the entry of a roundabout, rather than stopping and waiting for a green light at a signalized intersection; or waiting for a gap in the traffic at a stop sign.
- Less idling and air pollution – Reduced delays mean reduced fuel consumption and improved air quality by reducing emissions.
- Reduced maintenance costs – The roundabout eliminates maintenance and electricity costs associated with traffic signals.
- Aesthetically pleasing – There is an opportunity for landscaping within the central island.
Rules for roundabouts
- Slow down as you approach the roundabout. Keep to the right of the Splitter Island.
- Use the correct lane for your intended destination.
- Pay special attention to pedestrians who may be crossing the roadway.
- Watch for vehicles already in the roundabout, including cyclists.
- Traffic in the roundabout always has the right-of-way. Entering vehicles must always yield.
- Enter the roundabout when there is an adequate gap in the circulating traffic.
- In the roundabout, keep to the right of the Central Island and travel in a Counterclockwise direction.
- Do not stop, pass large vehicles or change lanes within the roundabout.Use your right-turn signal when exiting the roundabout.
- If you miss your exit, continue around the roundabout again and exit.
Large vehicles may need to use more than one lane when approaching, within and exiting the roundabout. Within the roundabout, large vehicles may also need to use the Truck Apron. Give large vehicles plenty of room to navigate within the roundabout.
Never cross to the Central Island of the roundabout. The Splitter Islands will allow you to cross one direction of traffic at a time. Pedestrians should always wait for gaps in the traffic and only cross when it is safe to do so.
Experienced cyclists may ride through the roundabout as if they were any other vehicle. Before entering the roundabout, cyclists should carefully move into the centre of the appropriate travel lane. They should stay in the middle of the lane until they are clear of the roundabout. Less experienced cyclists should dismount and walk their bicycles, following the same rules that apply to pedestrians.
If you have not yet entered the roundabout, pull over to the right if possible and allow the emergency vehicle to pass you. If you are in the roundabout, take your intended exit and proceed beyond the Splitter Island before pulling over to the right to allow the emergency vehicle to pass you. Never stop inside the roundabout.