Use roundabouts safely

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by Robert White

Twice in the last week a vehicle in front of me in a roundabout stopped and motioned for a vehicle (waiting outside of the roundabout) to enter the roundabout circle. I almost rear ended them as I know you are not supposed to stop inside the circle, except to avoid a collision. I have talked to other people and they all curse people that do not use the roundabouts properly. Below are the rules from the Ontario government on using roundabouts.

When you approach the roundabout, slow down. Keep to the right of the splitter island and use the correct lane for your intended destination. Pay special attention to pedestrians who may be crossing the roadway. Yield to cyclists and any traffic already driving through the roundabout and stop if there are vehicles already inside the roundabout and the way is not clear. Enter when there is a safe gap in traffic.

When you’re in the roundabout, keep to the right of the centre island and drive in a counter-clockwise direction until you reach your exit. Don’t pass large vehicles or change lanes. Don’t stop inside the roundabout, except to avoid a collision.

To exit the roundabout, use your right-turn signal. If you miss your exit, continue around the roundabout again and then exit.

Share the road with Emergency vehicles. If one is approaching, be aware of your position. If you are still outside the roundabout: Pull over to the right, if you can do so safely. Let the emergency vehicle pass you before you enter.

If you are inside the roundabout already: Drive around to your intended exit. Leave the roundabout completely before you pull over to the right. Then let the emergency vehicle pass you.

Large vehicles may need to use more than one lane when they enter, drive through and exit a roundabout. Within the roundabout, they may also need to use the truck apron. Give large vehicles plenty of room to navigate.

Pedestrians crossing the road at a roundabout require special care. Roundabouts are generally safer for pedestrians than traditional intersections. Follow these tips to cross a roundabout safely:

Cross the roads that lead into the roundabout one at a time. Never cross a roundabout by walking over the central island. Wait for a gap in traffic. Cross only when it is safe.

If you’re an experienced cyclist, you can move through the roundabout the same way you would in a vehicle. Merge into the centre of the vehicle lane before the bike lane or shoulder ends. Stay in the middle of the lane to avoid collisions with other vehicles exiting to the right. New cyclists should get off their bicycles and cross the roundabout as pedestrians.

For further information, go to the Ontario Government’s site at: www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/ontario-511/roundabouts.shtml.

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