|Posted by Injury Lawyers of Ontario on July 11, 2016
Anyone who has travelled in Europe cannot help but notice the prevalence of roundabouts and also, how smoothly and quickly traffic generally flows through these traffic features. Roundabouts are more efficient and reduce fuel consumption because vehicles do not need to stop unless yielding to oncoming traffic. Studies in Australia and Europe have also determined that roundabouts have better safety performance and when an accident occurs, the vehicle damage and injury is typically minor.
Many Ontario communities, including Hamilton, Ottawa, Niagara Region and Toronto, have been incorporating roundabouts into their road infrastructure, with varied success and mixed acceptance by local residents. The jurisdiction that has most aggressively pursued roundabout implementation is the Region of Waterloo. One of the newest roundabouts in Waterloo Region, at Hespeler Rd and Queen St in Cambridge, is among the biggest in the region.
On January 4th, 2016, The Record reported that there were 86 collisions in the first 17 months at the Hespeler Rd roundabout, the majority of which were fender benders. In response to the increase in car accidents, almost six fold since August 2013, the Cambridge Mayor suggested that he is confident that the number of accidents will decline when drivers become more used to roundabouts and better understand the traffic rules. The Mayor added that he believes there will fewer fatalities at the busy intersections where roundabouts are typically being constructed.
One suggestion for reducing potential collisions is that drivers allow large trucks to exit the roundabout before entering, as the tight design of roundabouts doesn’t leave much room for large vehicles to maneuver and they may need to use more than one lane. It is commonly predicted that until Ontario drivers become more used to roundabouts, drivers will continue to make errors, such as failing to advance into the roundabout when there is a reasonable opportunity to do so and thus holding up traffic; or alternatively, being too aggressive in entering the roundabout or improperly changing lanes, and thus causing an accident.
What traffic rules apply to roundabouts?
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has defined the following traffic regulations for roundabouts.
- All entering vehicles must yield to those already in the roundabout, which includes cyclists
- Slow down when approaching the roundabout
- Keep to the right of the center island and travel in a counter-clockwise direction
- Enter and stay in the correct lane. Use the left lane if turning left or going straight, and the right lane if going straight or turning right
- Do not pass large trucks and other large vehicles in the roundabout
- Watch for pedestrians
- Stay in your chosen lane
- Never stop in the roundabout except to avoid an accident
- Use your right-turn indicator to signal exiting the roundabout
- Cyclists should observe the same rules as vehicles and should keep to the center of the appropriate lane
Until Ontarians become more experienced at driving in roundabouts, we will likely continue to see a large number of fender benders occurring in this infrastructure. More troubling, however, is the potential for injury to pedestrians and cyclists, for whom travelling through a roundabout can be more dangerous than conventional intersections with traffic lights or stop signs.
Pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle occupants who were injured by a careless or negligent driver are entitled to seek compensation for any losses arising from their injury. Call the Injury Lawyers of Ontario law group to learn about the strength of your claim and your options for receiving owed compensation.
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