A Roundabout Way of Avoiding Accidents
If you have an intersection in your neighborhood that’s undergoing construction, you might be surprised to learn the local authorities have opted to build a roundabout rather than install a traffic light. The Georgia Department of Transportation is actively pushing roundabouts as alternatives to traditional intersections. The GDOT is convinced that roundabouts are safer than conventional intersections, improve traffic flow, reduce fuel consumption and might even have a calming effect on drivers.
Roundabouts combine the safety of four-way stop intersections with the traffic flow advantages of a signal-controlled intersection. They have been shown to reduce all vehicle accidents by 35 percent, and fatal and injury crashes by 60 to 87 percent.
How is a GDOT roundabout different from a traffic circle or rotary?
The modern roundabout has incorporated changes in design and regulation to improve its performance over that of traditional traffic circles and rotaries. Traffic entering the roundabout must yield the right-of-way to traffic in the roundabout, so traffic in the circle moves continuously. This eliminates the gridlock that too often jams traffic circles and rotaries. Roundabouts are smaller and operate at safer, slower speeds. They can be effective tools for communities to manage speed and transition high-speed traffic to a lower speed, enhancing safety in neighborhoods where bicyclists, pedestrians and children are present.
Roundabouts are safer for bicyclists, because the traffic moves at between 15 to 25 miles per hour, about the speed that the average adult rides a bike. The roundabout also gives the cyclist the option of using the sidewalk instead of joining the flow of motor vehicles, making it safer for children.
Roundabouts are not appropriate for all intersections, but have been installed successfully under a variety of conditions. If you are concerned that a particular intersection in your community is unreasonably dangerous, perhaps it’s time to ask your local authorities to consider constructing a roundabout.
McMenamy Law LLC wants you to be safe any time you’re in traffic. But if you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, contact us right away to schedule a free consultation.