OUR VIEW: The circular argument

Let’s switch gears for a second and talk about the McTavish interchange.

Let’s switch gears for a second and talk about the McTavish interchange.

The overpass of the Pat Bay Highway into a series of small roundabouts, seems to drive people batty. Whenever discussions on a wide variety of topics on the Saanich Peninsula turn to the state of traffic (and they inevitably always do), someone brings up the McTavish roundabouts — and the discussion really takes off.

Bashing the interchange and its heave-ho to the old red-green-and-yellow stop lights seems to be a passion on the Peninsula. While a few people shrug their shoulders at the hubbub, many others find they cannot navigate them and suggest that any more use of them on the highway would bring people to a screeching halt.

It’s hard to understand some people’s reticence for wanting to drive through roundabouts. Millions of people do it every day, probably without thinking too much about it.

Yet, maybe the whole ‘not thinking’ thing is the reason why people have such difficulty wrapping their minds around them.

A recent police incident report shows three incidents in or near the McTavish interchange in one week. Local RCMP have said they find drivers are not yielding to traffic already in a roundabout.

Those incidents and many others reported by police, seem to indicate a lot of drivers are just not paying attention as they approach — or even enter — the roundabouts.

These things are designed to allow continuous movement of vehicles. All a driver has to do is turn the steering wheel slightly to the right or the left and either stay within, or change, lanes.

Big deal, right?

It certainly is when drivers speed into roundabouts assuming they have the right-of-way. Or when drivers don’t simply look over their shoulder for oncoming traffic. If a driver cannot turn their heads and look — and co-ordinate that with the gentle application of their brakes —then they are going too fast, are too distracted or are too incompetent to be behind the wheel.

Roundabouts are not hard.