A lesson on how to properly use roundabouts was provided by the Town of Sidney, ICBC and the Sidney North Saanich RCMP.
The gathering took place July 11 at the town’s newest roundabout at Ocean Avenue and Fifth Street, a project which was completed in May to the tune of $1.57 million.
Funds for the project came from the federal gas tax fund, ICBC and the Ministry of Transportation and infrastructure, said Acting Mayor Kenny Podmore during the gathering.
“I am happy to report that the project has come in under budget and was completed earlier than anticipated,” Podmore said.
Town Chief Administrative Officer Randy Humble said the project will come in under budget by around $100,000.
Podmore also highlighted the reasons behind the town choosing a roundabout for the location.
“A four-way stop was impractical due to the predominant north/south traffic flows which would have been unnecessarily impeded much of the time,” he said, also noting that roundabouts are a greener option than intersections where vehicles can often sit idling.
Jill Blacklock, the manager of ICBC’s Road Safety Program also spoke briefly on the benefits of roundabouts, including reduced numbers of collisions, reduced collision severity and the efficiency of keeping traffic moving.
“Roundabouts are the single most effective way of controlling traffic at an intersection like this,” said Blacklock, adding that the safety benefits of traffic circles have been a major focus in the increased use of the traffic control method across the province.
“There are 32 collision points at a regular intersection and only eight in a roundabout,” she said, noting that collisions that do occur in roundabouts are low-speed and less severe than those at regular intersections.
Sidney North Saanich RCMP Constable Scott Seutter, the detachment’s dedicated traffic officer, also gave the group a quick lesson on the rules of the road when it comes to roundabouts.
“The most important thing to remember is always to yield to the traffic already in the circle,” said Seutter, “and always signal to exit on to the street of your choice.”
Seutter noted that no accidents had been recorded at the new roundabout and although there are still vehicle collisions reported at the McTavish interchange, the incidents are less devastating than before.
“It really is night and day in terms of the severity of the crashes at the McTavish interchange compared to when it was a highway intersection,” he said.
For more on roundabout safety, visit www.icbc.com/road-safety/safer-roads/roundabouts.
How to properly use a roundabout:
• Reduce your speed
• Watch for signs that may help you find your exit
• Watch for people using the crosswalk, and be ready to stop
• Yield to traffic already in the roundabout that comes from your immediate left before you enter
• Enter the roundabout to your right (a counter clockwise direction) when there is a gap in traffic and you feel it is safe to do so
• Continue until you reach your exit
• Never come to a full stop in a roundabout unless traffic conditions require it
• Use your right turn signal to let other road users know where you plan to exit
• Exit at a slow speed
• As you exit, watch for people using the crosswalk and be ready to stop
• If you miss your exit, keep going around the roundabout until you reach it again.