Drivers and pedestrians are often confused about how to safely and efficiently use a roundabout. The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is hoping to improve that with a multi-faceted educational campaign.
The town has recently launched a full campaign to increase awareness and initiate discussion about roundabouts and how to use them safely. With the creation of a promotional video as well as a full marketing campaign including brochures, social media, radio features, magazine and newspaper advertising, mobile signs and more, residents and visitors are about to be experts on the matter.
Roundabouts are popping up in municipalities all over the GTA; Whitchurch-Stouffville has more than half a dozen. The circular intersections don’t have stop signs or traffic signals, yet they have been proven to be substantially safer. York Region officials say, “based on industry studies, converting a stop-controlled intersection to a roundabout can reduce overall collisions by 40 per cent and severe collisions by 75 per cent.”
For vehicular traffic, using a roundabout consists of three steps: entering, driving within and exiting. When entering a roundabout always approach slowly and be aware of any pedestrians or cyclists. When inside the roundabout be alert for entering traffic, drive in a counter-clockwise direction and never pass another vehicle or stop within the roundabout. When exiting a roundabout always signal, be aware of pedestrians and cyclists and continue down the street being aware to not stop too close to the roundabout.
There are also special circumstances to keep in mind. If you encounter an emergency vehicle while inside a roundabout take the closest exit and then pull over. Never stop within a roundabout. Pedestrians must be aware that they do not have the right of way in a roundabout. They must cross at the crosswalks, never using the centre island and wait for a gap in traffic to safely cross. Cyclists may use a roundabout either as a pedestrian or as a vehicle.