- Source: The Spokesman Review

Let's Talk About Roundabouts

1w ago


I almost got hit again this morning. It's becoming a ridiculously common occurrence. And before you say it, yes I have considered that it may be my fault. My driving style is refined and I'm a stickler for following the laws of the road, as I should be right? But problem is when not everyone follows those same laws it creates dangerous driving conditions. Laws are created and refined with the purview to having one universal driving style, the one which follows the law of the road. If everyone actually did that then we'd find little to complain about.

Laws are created and refined with the purview to having one universal driving style.

Anyway, we're going to talk about roundabouts in specific because that's where I got hit. It's a bit of an odd one as well. I was about to exit the slightly larger roundabout when a driver came up the wrong side of the road directly at me. They didn't look international at all (like they'd be driving on the wrong side of the road) just extremely confused. And to be totally frank, the roundabout itself is actually really confusing, the exit comes out of the same road as the entry but the road doesn't look like a roundabout at all, it looks like an intersection. And sure there are signs everywhere but no-one is truly concentrating at 7am.

It got me thinking though, what actually are the point of roundabouts. I mean they're meant to be intersections that promote the continuous flow of traffic. But the truth is they don't really. I could name five roundabouts off the top of my head which genuinely make entering and exiting an intersection far more dangerous than waiting for traffic lights. Worse still those same roundabouts cause traffic jam ups because most drivers are far too frightened to either enter or exit that same roundabout. Roundabouts only really work when there are no cars around and even then you have to question why you wouldn't just put an intersection with a stop sign in.

Before someone tells me that people can run red lights, allow me to remind you that they can also illegally enter roundabouts and plow down the wrong side of the roundabout. Hence the first paragraph about laws. The laws of the road come with the presumption that everyone follows them.

It get's worse still, the economic cost of roundabouts compared to a stop sign or light based intersection is astronomical, and the environmental footprint they leave in comparison is huge. We're talking millions of dollars and square meters of acreage difference. It's just stupid. It's like some traffic engineer came along one day and literally thought up a way to make the roads even more confusing than they already are.

Hilariously whilst writing this article I did think to myself, "what if we just had highways that went everywhere with exits to smaller suburbs?"

Try to ensure you travel down the correct side of it and try even harder not to hit an unsuspecting morning commuter such as myself.

And it's a good idea, except that some cities already did that and buggered it up totally. And as a result they're now building roads around those highways to try and fix it. It's even worse than the roundabout issue.

I've decided that roundabouts are highly politicised. They're an alternative solution to a problem which should've been very simple. How do you have traffic stop in a situation where traffic is also travelling in a parallel direction. And the simple solution is, you stop it.

But people don't work like that, oh no. They can't. They can't get their head around the fact that someone else is telling them they need to stop. I'm positive that it's a pride thing. They can't allow themselves to be told what to do because it makes them less intelligent than the people who are doing the telling.

Truth is, the people who are telling them what to do are only doing so because someone else complained about how the original people behaved. Have I lost you yet?

So what I have in essence established here is that you really, really, really don't need roundabouts. But on the off chance that roundabouts in the future are not banned thanks to my long winded and slightly mental explanation of why we don't need roundabouts, please do me a large favour. Try to ensure you travel down the correct side of it and try even harder not to hit an unsuspecting morning commuter such as myself. If for nothing else just think, every time you do travel down the wrong side of a roundabout out of ignorance you'll get another long winded anti-roundabout rant from me.

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