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Traffic Cirlce Protocol

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by bomber60015, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

    Sep 11, 2008
    Traffic circles are appearing in the Midwest (Wisconsin and Illinois) in small, but significant numbers.
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    Sadly, they are all fairly small in diameter, which seems to lead to fair tight packing of vehicles within said circles. This makes entering the whirling dervish tough, and seemingly impossible for some timid individuals.<o:p></o:p>

    It would be easier if it were obvious that the vehicle in the circle approaching you was going to leave it, but people either do not signal their intentions, or signal their intention to ENTER the traffic circle ;-}<o:p></o:p>

    So, what's the standard protocol on round abouts? Signal? Rude Gestures? Tossing BBs at everyone?<o:p></o:p>

    <o:p> </o:p>
  2. MT Wallet

    MT Wallet Been here awhile

    Jul 12, 2013
    North "Freezin" Dakota
    Before I left Michigan the damn things were springing up all over the place. It seems the latest greatest thing in the minds of traffic engineers is the roundie. They must have had a conference in GB and were seduced by all things European. It looks like a disorganized free for all and I dread using them. The aggressive driver forces his or her way into the circle and essentially intimidates the meek folks who, like you, don't know the rules of roundie courtesy. Maybe some of our Brit members can enlighten us. I wish this faddist little trend would stop. On 2 wheels I don't want some unpredictable cage driver to just pop out looking for a hole in the driver chaos. I'm guessing the drivers are looking for everything bigger than me.
  3. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer

    Sep 26, 2005
    Eastern Washington, USA
    As strange as it sounds, the confusion created by different kinds of drivers using a circle is one of the things that make them safer than traffic signals or stop signs. When drivers get confused they slow down and look around. Traffic circles result in slower speeds and a higher level of awareness at intersections. They also force everyone into the same general direction so collisions are at lower angles. You might get a glancing blow but you won't get T-boned, have somebody turn in front of you, or hit you head on as they would at a normal intersection.

    Circles also move traffic faster than signals. Nobody has to sit waiting for a left turn light or sit at a red light when no one is even coming from the other direction.

    Traffic circles are not trends. Data shows they are safer and move traffic better than the traditional intersection controls. They generate less air pollution and burn less fuel because cars are not idling and there is less stop and go. They scare the crap out of me too. :eek1 Especially the ones with multiple lanes. They can also be great fun when traffic is light. Get your knee down and make sparks.

    The protocol is those in the circle have the right-of-way over those yet to enter. Changing lanes in a circle is standard protocol, yield if it is occupied. Signaling is good but auto-cancel mechanisms in cars can make that impossible depending on the radius. Try not to get hit or hit anyone.

    DADODIRT Long timer

    Jun 25, 2004
    Durango,CO(not quite Purgatory)
    They're really not that bad. Sheesh. You'd rather stop?
    Yield to traffic coming from the left. Easy Peasy.
    Just like anywhere, the cages are out to get you. Watch your 6 so you don't get rear ended. Use turn signal to exit the roundie.
    Don't ask the brits. They drive on the left. :norton
  5. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

    Nov 15, 2011
    Concord, CA
    I was in Sedona earlier this year and the whole town is made up of these.
    Even with busy traffic you can get through really quickly. I'd like to see more in my town.
    I only know of one but it works well. Just remember to never trust a blinker and all is well.
  6. Wdwrkr

    Wdwrkr Long timer

    Dec 8, 2011
    Lost at sea
    They have had them here (mass) for many moons, and they work well IMHO.... I actually prefer the smaller ones as I can see the whole thing. The larger circles make it harder to predict others behavior (again my opinion). The rules are simple as previously stated. If you are in the circle you have right of away (not that means shit when they are in a cage, and you're on a bike). I signal in traffic circles wether in a cage or on a bike, because I believe it's courteous, but many don't. I have three rules for rotories as we call them. Best to follow these rules in order.

    1. Don't die
    2. Trust no one
    3. Dictate your actions. Timid drivers get hurt in these things

    Remember you can always keep going around if a window doesn't open for your exit. It sucks but it beats the hell out of violating rule #1
  7. KeithinSC

    KeithinSC Long timer

    Oct 18, 2009
    Sandhills of SC
    An epidemic awaits:lol3

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  8. Steigs

    Steigs Been here awhile

    Dec 23, 2012
    Sin City

    Still wonder why they got rid of the one on Rt 2 by Alewife. Seems traffic is much worse with the intersection there now.
  9. ozmoses

    ozmoses Ride On

    Jul 3, 2009
    Why are circles hard?

    Oncoming to your left? Yield.


    Ideally, signal your intentions but the smaller roundabouts almost make it impossible to do so.

    Try this on for size: in my hometown there was a roundabout & it was called The Circle; rule of the road was traffic entering had right of way-never saw that anywhere else on the planet!
  10. Bazgab

    Bazgab Been here awhile

    Sep 4, 2012
    Raleigh, NC
    Traffic circles are fantastic, the people in the US not used to them are not. They are great at reducing accidents that result in fatalities and keep traffic moving at a steady pace. I am glad to see a bunch springing up around me. Small traffic circles are a little harder to judge people's intentions, just slow down a little and use your best judgement. Most people go really slow through them in my area so as long as someone isn't right at the exit closest to where I am entering I am good to go.

    Larger traffic circles are nice, signal when approaching (right for first exit, no signal for 2nd exit, left signal for 3rd exit) and then signal again when exiting if you have time. Use the inside most lane if you are going to any exit other than the 1st and then transition to the outside lane if your exit is approaching. If you screw up you can just circle around again, extremely convenient.
  11. Bogfarth

    Bogfarth Fridge Magnet Safety Tester

    Dec 26, 2011
    The Northwet
    Traffic circles are popping up around here more often. Several places in town have them at every intersection, which makes for four or five circles in a row. As long as you know what you're doing (ref. above posts) then you're good. Watching transplants from Cali try to negotiate these things is hilarious! Same goes for the brain-dead locals who have never gotten out of town. Me? I just see them as another form of twisty.
  12. wizz

    wizz Up a creek......

    Jul 26, 2008
    over yonder on the north coast of ca
    Got em here now too, but some folks will avoid parts of town where they are. I think the are great. People just need to get comfortable with the space needed to enter, not as much as entering a straight roadway. And cars are not traveling as fast around the circle so if youre accidentally a little to aggressive its not that big a deal as slowing is much easier.
  13. ZEmann

    ZEmann want to be riding

    Jul 19, 2013
    they starting haphazardly chucking roundabouts on freeway on/off ramps in AZ poorly marked and confusing as hell not to mention the fear factor for someone whom has never entered one before :eek1

    then We have some private roundabouts that have an inner and outer lane
    so when you enter as a two lane road but only the outer can exit at some portions being they are one lane this traps the inner lane drive either in limbo
    or forced to cut off another driver ( this option is chosen the most LOL )

    but hey it saves the cost of a street light
  14. Aj Mick

    Aj Mick Been here awhile

    Aug 31, 2012
    Phuket, Thailand
    In some place roundabouts work well, because locals are familiar with / educated how to use them. They are common in my homeland New Zealand, and work well there. Here in Phuket there are a few, and most are a nightmare because of the selfish attitude of road users. On a motorcycle I negotiate them OK, but it is high stress stuff.

    There are a lot of roundabouts in England, and they work well there. Here is the Magic Roundabout in Swindon, which I first encountered when driving a large van towing a large trailer...... "Look out I'm coming through!"



    I made it ok, but went back to check it out in more leisurely circumstances before I went through it again. Once I had sussed it the roundabout was not a problem. As with all matters motoring, it is just a matter of knowing where you want to go and planning accordingly. Most people who use the roundabout are locals who do so frequently, so it works well.... even allowing for the odd newcomer!
  15. FozMaster

    FozMaster Air Pirate

    Apr 21, 2009
    Wandering Europe
    I love when I encounter an unoccupied roundie, or better yet, a series of them. Flick right, flick left, flick back to the right, and continue on!
  16. filmfan

    filmfan Been here awhile

    Sep 13, 2011
    live free or die
    What I don't like about traffic circles is how unpredictable all the other drivers are. You invariably get a mix of timid and confident drivers, plus a few that are looking to take any possible advantage. They don't always mix well.

    Our local community hospital has a couple on their grounds, which don't see a lot of traffic. I run through them occasionally just for fun.

    Re the Magic Roundabout;
    Do the small circles with the three arrows mean you can proceed to the left or right when entering?

  17. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

    Oct 18, 2007
    central USA
    They are building a 2 lane runabout on highway 171 between Joplin and Carthage. I think I will get a lawn chair the day it opens and watch.

  18. ozmoses

    ozmoses Ride On

    Jul 3, 2009
    No offense, but if you guys are referring to them as "runabouts", I foresee problems.
  19. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Oct 25, 2004
    India Wharf
    I moved to MA in 1990 and commuted for probably 5 years before I discovered the traffic in the circle has the right of way and are to be yielded to. For some reason I expected the vehicle entering the circle would have the right of way (I was a typical arrogant Cali driver). Anyway after a couple close calls, I figured it out and I am patient with them, particularly on my bikes.

    Some traffic circles around here can be a bit hairy because they are relatively fast and crowded. And yes they are often referred to as roundabouts. In NJ they have roundabouts and jug handles. :lol3

    I think the small circles in towns are pretty great because things keep moving, they are slow and it is easy to see intentions of people using them.
  20. cab591

    cab591 Been here awhile

    May 8, 2011
    Flagstaff, AZ
    The Swindon Magic Roundabout is a large roundabout composed of 5 smaller roundabouts. Those circles with the three arrows signify the smaller roundabouts. You could avoid the cnfusion and yeild to the outside, treating it like one roundabout, or you could take a "shortcut", by hopping to the inside and essentially going backwards around the circle.

    It seems really confusing (and I'm sure it is to newcomers), but once you study it for a bit it makes perfect sense.