Roundabouts are becoming more and more common in British Columbia and other parts of North America; but in fact, they've been used for decades in parts of Europe as a means of effectively controlling traffic.
A roundabout is really just an intersection centred around a circle.
The concept behind the roundabout is to direct drivers to go around a central island; motorists must slow down upon approaching the traffic circle and then yield to the right of way before entering. By doing so, traffic flow is improved and made safer, by allowing drivers to slow down and go around when no traffic is approaching. Roundabouts can prevent serious crashes involving injuries and death at intersections because they reduce speeds, eliminate the dangers caused by rushing to beat signals and virtually eliminate T-bone (right-angle) collisions.
Benefits of roundabouts
On average, 76 per cent fewer injuries/fatalities and 35 per cent fewer collisions happen as a result roundabouts.
Other benefits include:
slower vehicle speeds
improved safety for cyclists and pedestrians
reduced greenhouse gas emissions
For driver, pedestrian and cyclist tips on using roundabouts, please click on the menu headings below.
Yield to all pedestrians at each approach of the roundabout — if there’s a clearly marked pedestrian crosswalk, it will be located approximately one car length in advance of the yield line. Don’t block the pedestrian crossing.
When entering the roundabout
Yield to traffic that is already inside the roundabout, as it has the right-of-way.
When circulating in the roundabout
Go counter-clockwise within the lane. The truck apron is typically raised and/or coloured, and can be used by large trucks or emergency vehicles to drive over to manoeuvre through the roundabout.
If approached by an emergency vehicle, continue through the roundabout and then pull over once you exit to allow the emergency vehicle to pass.
When exiting the roundabout
Signal a right turn just in advance of your exit location so that drivers waiting to enter the roundabout and pedestrians waiting to cross know your intentions.
Exit at desired street.
Yield to pedestrians that may be crossing the exit lane.
Pedestrian crosswalks — designated by pavement markings — are located approximately one car length away from the roundabout. You should cross only at these marked locations. Don’t cross to the center island.
Although vehicles are required to yield to pedestrians, you should not initiate a crossing unless there’s an adequate gap in traffic or all approaching vehicles have stopped.
It’s important to note that a dedicated bicycle path may also connect to these crosswalks. In these situations, be aware that you’re sharing the crosswalk and pathways with cyclists.