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Do you ever encounter roundabouts in your area?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Do you ever encounter roundabouts in your area?

Old 04-30-06, 12:19 PM
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Do you ever encounter roundabouts in your area?

We have a few of the English-style roundabouts out here on the upscale west side of Vegas known as Summerlin (Howard Hughes' mother's maiden name) and they can be kind of harrowing if you go through one on a bike because it's an exercise in merging with cagers from different entry points.

While viewing the TDF telecasts, I think the coolest visual is when the peleton splits into two groups on these Limey contraptions...

I always get flashbacks from "National Lampoon's European Vacation" where the Griswalds are trapped on a roundabout and can't get off!
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Old 04-30-06, 12:30 PM
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You talking 'bout rotaries? Yeah, we got plenty in eastern Mass. And they all suck.
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Old 04-30-06, 12:33 PM
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We have a tiny one on a side street that has a moderate grade. Fun!!
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Old 04-30-06, 12:48 PM
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Washington DC is thick with traffic circles.
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Old 04-30-06, 03:23 PM
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No. None. The closest one I know of is in Ligonier, PA, about ~320 miles away.
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Old 04-30-06, 03:26 PM
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yes
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Old 04-30-06, 03:35 PM
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I ride through Harriman State Park in New York frequently and there are few there. A few of them are on ultra-low traffic roads and are actually fun to race around, but some others, including the one that I must use to get back home have some traffic to contend with, especially if it's rush hour.
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Old 04-30-06, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Namenda
You talking 'bout rotaries? Yeah, we got plenty in eastern Mass. And they all suck.
I've never heard them called "rotaries".

Is that the American name ?
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Old 04-30-06, 04:10 PM
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Rotaries in MA is like strippers in Vegas, they're everywhere!

Seriously, there is one almost every few miles no matter where you go in eastern MA.
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Old 04-30-06, 04:14 PM
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We have a few here. Note that in SoCal, people pretty much ignore the "Yield" signs on roundabouts.
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Old 04-30-06, 04:18 PM
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They have just decided to do this in our area of NC this year. So far every one of them sucks. They are also too small, meaning very tight turning radius. It just goes to show you that in many parts of the world there is no "planning" in traffic planning. I guess they see other areas of the country building them so they figure if it's good for them it's good for us also.

The same is true with the new light rail line they are putting in. Based on flawed ridership data they got from Portland, OR. I say flawed but really mean that TriMet lied about their ridership numbers.
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Old 04-30-06, 05:17 PM
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We have some, but they are on small residential roads to keep people from speeding, so they are not scary at all.
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Old 04-30-06, 05:27 PM
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Old 04-30-06, 08:59 PM
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We have two in my town, we need more! They're so, so much more efficient for traffic, especially with odd-ball 5-way intersections and no one can ever make up their mind whose turn is next. Problem is, people aren't used to them and consider them like stop-sign or red-light intersections. They wait until the entire circle is clear before they enter! Bastards! Just aim for the back wheel of the car in the circle when you arrive and hop on in! Sometimes, I do laps around it in my car or bike to bug those people who are waiting for the entire thing to clear...

One of my friends in England says her town has 4 stoplights and 176 roundabouts!
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Old 05-01-06, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by WheresWaldo
They have just decided to do this in our area of NC this year. So far every one of them sucks. They are also too small, meaning very tight turning radius.
That's the whole idea, you're not supposed to be able to blast through these intersections at 50 mph. Have you ever been to the circle in Pinehurst? It's HUGE, thus people go around it at 35-40 mph, so it's very hard for people to merge in from a stop and traffic backups are a problem.

For those who are interested, rotaries and traffic circles are technically the terms for older style circular intersections still found mostly in the New England states. As a general rule, they bite, because their size and geometry is usually out of whack, and right of way rules also tend to be messed up. The term roundabout refers to modern intersections with strict radius and geometry rules, where all incoming traffic has to yield to traffic already in the circle. The yielding situation is the most important, and that alone can fix a lot of old style rotaries and traffic circles where people in the circle have to yield to incoming traffic, thus causing the circle itself to constantly lock up.

Roundabouts are great for oddball 5-way or worse intersections, but in general they're better because they're a lot safer for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike. This is true because the only conflict points among opposing traffic is low-speed merging. There's not really any chance to get t-boned in a roundabout, and especially not at a high speed. Bike riders don't have to worry about crossing into the middle of the street to turn left, and generally you can stay to the right of the circle to let cars get around. I would personally hog up the full lane in the circle itself, to prevent anyone from trying to turn right (exit) in front of me. Most of the circles should be small enough that you won't cause a backup behind you. The smaller and slower the circle, the easier it is for a bike to merge and navigate. Also keep in mind that there's electricity savings in these intersections, since there are no stop lights. Traffic generally also keeps flowing, although not at full speed of course. This means less hard braking and accelerating, which saves gas and reduces pollution.

Ok, I'll get off the soap box now. We only have one roundabout that I know of here in Cincinnati. It's in Eden Park along a downhill route. It's fun to swing around the thing while descending the hill at 30 mph.
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Old 05-01-06, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by WheresWaldo
They have just decided to do this in our area of NC this year. So far every one of them sucks. They are also too small, meaning very tight turning radius. It just goes to show you that in many parts of the world there is no "planning" in traffic planning. I guess they see other areas of the country building them so they figure if it's good for them it's good for us also.

The same is true with the new light rail line they are putting in. Based on flawed ridership data they got from Portland, OR. I say flawed but really mean that TriMet lied about their ridership numbers.

Yes! I have seen a few here in Gaston County, NC. 1 is a real nice one: large, good radius. 1 is dinky, worthless.
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Old 05-01-06, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
We have two in my town, we need more! They're so, so much more efficient for traffic, especially with odd-ball 5-way intersections and no one can ever make up their mind whose turn is next. Problem is, people aren't used to them and consider them like stop-sign or red-light intersections.
Folks in New Jersey were just as bad about them as you describe, only in a different way. In NJ they'd treat each road leading into the circle as a new intersection and yield to the cars coming into the circle, meaning you'd proceed through a three way circle 120 degrees at a time, stopping at each road. Net result is that they've rebuilt most of them into expensive, complex traffic light and overpass arrangements.
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Old 05-01-06, 06:19 AM
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You mean one of these?



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Old 05-01-06, 08:46 AM
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the college in santa barbara also has multiple roundabouts on the bike path; these can be a site of many a rediculous freshman collision, so much to the point that on the first day of class, people will camp out with beach chairs in the middle of the roundabout just to witness the show....
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Old 05-01-06, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Sincitycycler
I've never heard them called "rotaries".

Is that the American name ?
That is the *New England* name. It may even be just MA-specific. That's the only place I've ever heard them referred to as "rotaries". If they could figure out a way to put an "r" sound on the end of it, they'd probably do that, too

Anyway, we've got a few around here. Usually near exclusive gated communities that want to look upscale and, uhh, "Euro" (though I suppose they could just put a Limpet shell on their heads if they wanted to do that). But there are not enough of them that people are accustomed to dealing with them. So they generally have the effect of making things slower and less efficient (perhaps that's the desired effect).
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Old 05-01-06, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
We have two in my town, we need more!
As you point out, rotaries are way too advanced for SoCal drivers. The two I can think of in SB (Milpas & the 101, Salinas & APS) are always nightmarish. The concept is simple: cars in the rotary have the right of way. That's all you need to know. Never seems to work that way, though.

I used to ride to work in Boston when I was a kid, and there was a big, hairy rotary on the way. The hardest part was riding past an "exit" without getting creamed by someone trying to pull off. The bigger the circle, the harder it is to match the speed of traffic, which is key.
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Old 05-01-06, 09:20 AM
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I always called them rotaries but learned that in Ireland they are Roundabouts and now where I live they are traffic circles. In any case I think they are great. I dont have to deal with huge ones though.
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Old 05-01-06, 10:01 AM
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DC is chuck full of them. The one near my house has been under construction for years now. The construction makes traffic 2x worse - even for bicycles. Even worse is that some days they turn on the traffic lights to enter/exit, some days they don't! I hate those things.
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Old 05-01-06, 10:18 AM
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Yep! I ride a rotary everyday here in da'bean.
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Old 05-01-06, 10:32 AM
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We've got lots of the small ones designed to slow the car traffic in my residential area. I love them as I can take an almost straight line through them at speed while the cars are forced to slow way way down to get round. Just wish they would educate the drivers on how to use them.
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