In Canada, roundabouts are used relatively infrequently. And it seems that people are inherently resistant to change. It’s simple, really.
Drivers ‘love’ them or absolutely ‘hate’ them - the roundabout located on Mountain Road near Blue Mountain Resorts and the new roundabouts at High Street, Hwy. 26 and Mosley. Bring it up in conversation and brace yourself for the reaction. How is it that driving around a circle can create such a stir in our community?
The progressive philosophy of a roundabout is to maintain a high quality of life for people. Given that the communities of Collingwood and The Blue Mountains both promote sustainability and part of being a sustainable community includes being “pedestrian friendly.” Roundabouts are large pieces of the puzzle. Residents in neighbourhoods with suitable street environments tend to walk and bicycle more, ride transit more, and drive less.
There are a number of benefits to roundabouts in terms of traffic control. In Ontario it may be hard to understand and accept without a detailed explanation.
The roundabout has undergone significant design and driving rule changes since first being introduced in 1905. Now, according to the Federal Highway Administrations, installing a roundabout typically results in a 76% reduction in injury-accidents, a 40% reduction in fatalities, and a 40% reduction in pedestrian fatalities. Yes, we have seen a few accidents on the new roundabout by Blue Mountain but given the lower speeds that one is able to travel on the roundabout these accidents have not been fatal.
The roundabout concept has been successful in Europe and Australia and is becoming more popular in Canada and the U.S. They provide environmental benefits by reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
We would like to think that in our community we are progressive in trying out and ultimately accepting new and different approaches for environmental and transportation issues. Try to think of the roundabout as a ‘traffic calming’ program developed to provide the greatest benefits to pedestrians, bicyclists and local residents, while imposing the greatest costs on motorists who drive intensively.
The Rules Are Simple:
Important points to remember when approaching a roundabout:
- Reduce your speed (presently posted as 50km/h)
- Select the correct lane to negotiate the roundabout - remember that motorists entering a roundabout have to yield to traffic already in the roundabout. This means that traffic attempting to enter the roundabout may have to come to a complete stop while waiting for an adequate gap in traffic to enter safely.
- When exiting the roundabout, make sure you signal your intention and watch for other vehicles so you can exit safely.
- And, never stop in a roundabout unless traffic conditions require it.
For more information, go to www.ontario.ca/roundabout.
News provided by Century 21 Millennium.