Going in circles

The Times Union's Tim O'Brien pulled together the before/after numbers on accidents at Capital Region intersections with roundabouts and found what apparently is pretty typical -- the number of fender benders goes up, but the number of serious accidents declines. Two intersections -- in Slingerlands and Malta -- showed big increases in accidents. (From our own experience, it can be kind of hard to figure out what a driver's intent is in that Slingerlands circle.) Also, secondary theme in the article: people are willing to trade more accidents for easing traffic congestion. We've come to respect to the roundabout, but it still lags far behind our love of the SPUI.


I am a roundabout proponent, but I think some kind of television PSA teaching residents how to correctly use the roundabout might help things. I mean, we live in an area where there were NONE just a few years ago, and now they are popping up everywhere. It's great that the number of major accidents is down when a roundabout is installed, but the total number of accidents could be down as well - if people learned how to properly use them.

The one on Albany Shaker Road near Wolf is the worst. Not due to the design, but due to people's inability to learn something new. People going straight through the roundabout on Albany Shaker ALWAYS think they have the right of way! I am guessing this is because they are going straight through a section of the road which used to be a signal-less intersection. THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE. If there is someone going around the roundabout, you ALWAYS yield for them.

Also, don't assume someone is going straight through just because 90% of the traffic goes that way!! It is perfectly valid to go ALL THE WAY AROUND a roundabout, I do it there pretty often. One of the benefits of having a roundabout there is that you are able to get onto I-87 South or Wolf Road going west from the parking lot of Moes/Starbucks where it used to require an illegal turn or turning around in the library parking lot...

Can we PLEASE teach people to signal when they are about to leave a roundabout? That and the no yielding is part of the problem.

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