I'm Number One In A Round About Way

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Roundabouts have been popping up all over Chattanooga over the past few years and for the most part have been successful.  Unfortunately there are some who just don’t get it as I have found out the hard way.   

My latest instance was last week when a young woman on her cell phone almost t-boned me as she flew into the roundabout without yielding.  A near miss and her phone went flying.  All was well as I have seen way too often and was able to adjust to her negligent driving and had almost anticipated it .  That was until she proceeded to let me know I was #1 with her left hand and then profusely laid on her horn to apparently celebrate that fact.  I let it go at that and carefully exited out of the roundabout as she sped by reminding me how important I was.  Sadly, she had no idea that she had nearly caused the accident and would have been 100 percent at fault.  

I have seen it way too often and am not sure if some drivers just can’t follow the simple layout, just fail to see the yield signs or just don’t care.  Either way, it may be time for a little driver’s education on roundabouts and here are some simple steps for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians courtesy of the Center for Transportation Research and Education.

 

The “modern” roundabout has come into favor recently as an effective means of controlling traffic at intersections. Roundabouts more effectively minimize delay and have a better safety performance than stop controlled intersections when it comes to high severity collisions. The new roundabouts have improved geometric design over the older roundabout found in North America in the 1960’s and offer overall better performance than their predecessors or intersections. 

Roundabouts are intersections that direct traffic in a counterclockwise direction about a center island. They have no stop signs or traffic signals. Yield signs, directional signs, and pavement markings guide traffic through the intersection.

Approaching vehicles must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk and to traffic in the roundabout. When you enter, yield to circulating traffic from the left, but do not stop if it is clear. 

Motorists:
1) Approach: Slow down to the posted speed. Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk; they have the right-of-way.

2) Enter: Yield to vehicles from the left in the roundabout. Wait for a gap in traffic, and merge into traffic in the roundabout in a counterclockwise direction. 

3) Proceed: Continue through the roundabout until you reach your street. Never stop in the roundabout.

4) Exit: Signal, then exit the roundabout to your right. Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Pedestrians:
1) Approach: At the pedestrian crosswalk, look left.


2) Cross: Cross to the raised or painted splitter or refuge. Look right. Finish crossing to the opposite sidewalk.

Cyclists:
1) Cyclists can walk their bicycles across the pedestrian crosswalk. 


2) Experienced cyclists may navigate roundabouts like motorists. Do not hug the curb. Ride in the middle of the lane to prevent vehicles from passing you. Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks. 

Chris Morgan
Chattanooga


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