General Question

flo's avatar

When they discuss the pros and con of roundabouts, do they refer what it means to the pedestrians?

Asked by flo (12381points) 2 weeks ago

I don’t know if there is a side that says it’s fewer accidents. But anyway, when you heard it being discussed/debated, wherever whenever, what do they say about pedestrians? How does it affect pedestrians?

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20 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

None of ours have pedestrian lanes, they use the corners per usual.
The roundabout is okay if drivers pay attention, but they often do not.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I have always heard roundabouts being an improvement for motor traffic. Never for pedestrians.

Pedestrians walk around the outside. (or underneath at the Arc de Triomphe)

flo's avatar

Is this a good video?

flo's avatar

I’ve heard some drivers against roundabouts, I’m not sure why.

janbb's avatar

Just like traffic circles, roundabouts aren’t really designed for pedestrian traffic. They would walk around the outside.

JLeslie's avatar

I live in a city with a lot of roundabouts. Must be over 30.along the major thoroughfares through town. I don’t think there are any sidewalks at the roundabouts. I’ll have to check. I can only think of one at the north end of town that might have side walks. It would be pretty harrowing to cross one. Probably better to cross at a different part of the road.

Traffic circles probably have pedestrian crosswalks like regular intersections. I was raised outside of DC, which has traffic circles, I just can’t remember if we actually had buttons we could push to give the pedestrian a light? I think we did.

flo's avatar
I’m trying to see the difference between traffic circles and roundabouts.

kritiper's avatar

A roundabout is a traffic device. Pedestrians will manage well enough.
Rotaries, circles, roundabouts are all the same thing, basically, and the name may be different depending on where you are in the world.

janbb's avatar

In our state, the right of way is different for roundabouts and traffic cirlces. I believe on traffic circles the on the circle traffic has the right of way, but in roudabouts, the entering traffic does.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Berkeley is notorious for the damned things birdie. Ask your nephew for a tour. Back around 20 years ago the town went crazy and declared an all out war on automobiles. Everything from tank traps to gardens in intersections. I used to give tours myself to my own visiting relatives.

JLeslie's avatar

Every city I’ve ever been to the traffic in the roundabout has the right of way, so I’m interested to see how the roundabouts work in @janbb’s state. Some states or counties that have multi-lane roundabouts you’re expected to move to the outer lane to exit, but where I live you aren’t allowed to change lanes once inside the roundabout, you need to enter in the correct lane just like you enter a typical intersection in the correct lane.

Traffic circles can be huge and have traffic lights and literally stop traffic in the circle to allow traffic in. Depends on the circle.

Where I live we most often call the roundabouts circles, but I’m pretty sure technically they are roundabouts.

In the US having different laws from state to state regarding circles makes it harrowing down in FL where I live, because too often people don’t look up the local laws and we get tons of snowbirds and people on vacation doing the wrong thing. Every rec center where I live has a pamphlet on the rules, it’s also online, and at every circle there is a traffic sign. Still, I catch people who have lived there for years posting on Facebook, or talking in conversations, or emotions ven when I’m driving with them, with incorrect information about the circles.

Example of just how many roundabouts we have, this recreation map has them marked with grey circles. Or, you can gps map for yourself Brownwood Paddock Sq, The Villages, FL to Sumter Landing, The Villages, FL and you’ll see in 6 miles you go through about 11 roundabouts on the Buena Vista route. Something like that. It’s constant.

JLeslie's avatar

I found this from Washington state describing the differences between roundabouts and traffic circles, and it jibes with how I define it, but probably each state is different, and locally people use the terms that the local use, even if technically incorrect. Like I said, I would define what we have where I live as a roundabout, but even I call it a circle. I think most Americans don’t use the word roundabout.

kritiper's avatar

In Idaho, USA, vehicles in the roundabout (that’s what they call them) have the right of way. Since vehicles entering have to yield, pedestrians also have the right of way (as always).

JLeslie's avatar

Pedestrians don’t always have the right of way, that’s a bad saying that permeates our country. They have right of way in crosswalks and at intersections, and even then they can be expected to obey traffic signals. Pedestrians are required to yield the right of way in many circumstances.

kritiper's avatar

Maybe so, but drivers don’t have the right to run pedestrians over if they get in the way. In Idaho, at least, pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way, if for no other reason.

JLeslie's avatar

Of course drivers can’t just run people over, but the pedestrian has an obligation to use common sense and not jump out in front of a car and not to cross busy street in the middle of a road rather than a marked crosswalk or an intersection. Idaho might be more favored on the pedestrian side, the laws vary state to state. Nobody wants anybody to get hurt no matter what the law is. Pedestrians need to be very cautious even if the law is in on their side because they are at more risk. I see people do dumb things on the road all too often just expecting a car to “do the right thing” and stop. That’s not worth it if you wind up seriously harmed or dead.

I looked up Idaho and it does seem very favored to the pedestrian. What I ready says very little about the pedestrian yielding the right of way even though it is implied in some areas. It felt to me incomplete what I read, but it was a lawyer site not a government site.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie I was wrong. It seems the right of way is always the ones in the roundabout or circle although I had thought there was a difference in NJ. Perhaps the only difference is size?

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb I don’t know. I guess the best is to go slow and if possible learn the laws. The problem is, sometimes we don’t realize we are going to encounter a new traffic situation when we are in a new state. My problem where I live is the people who are sure they are right, but they are wrong, and then never bother to check themselves, they insist they are correct without research.

As I sit here today I don’t remember if in Michigan when making a left in a median that has a traffic light for the median if you complete the left or follow the traffic light. Michigan has some very wide medians and instead of passing on the left they pass on the right. It’s one of the few states I’ve encountered it. I lived there a few years years ago, but now I don’t remember what’s the correct thing to do. Once in a while a car will try to stay on the right hand side in an intersection and I always assume it was a Michigander.

kritiper's avatar

How is a three year old child, for example, supposed to understand right-of-way, obligation, and common sense? The law expects drivers to use common sense. It doesn’t say what pedestrians are supposed to use although you’d think they would use common sense…
Pedestrians must be assumed to have the right-of- way, whether they have the legal right to it or not, if only for their own safety.
But we digress…

JLeslie's avatar


Pedestrians have the right of way on a marked crosswalk; a pedestrian crossing a road at any point other than within a marked crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles. (When crossing, a pedestrian should look left, right and left again to ensure that he or she has a safe way to cross.)

Pedestrians must obey all traffic signals and cross a road only when a pedestrian light is green. (However, even when a green light is on, a pedestrian must still make sure that the cars are stopping.)

Even when a pedestrian has right-of-way, not all cars will stop. A driver may be distracted and not notice a pedestrian or a traffic light, so a pedestrian should make eye contact with the drivers before crossing a road to ensure they see him/her. After checking that the light is green and that it is safe to cross, pedestrians should move upon the right half of crosswalks (Florida Statute §316.130(13)).


Other states have similar laws. Here is TN as another example:

Why is a 3 year old crossing the street alone?

When a child ran out from between the cars on my street, and a car hit her, that wasn’t the drivers fault. The driver was so upset, but the mother of the child tried to make her feel better, she knew her daughter darted out. Pedestrians have responsibilities on the road too. The driver was going very slowly, the girls leg was broken. It wasn’t at a crosswalk, it was a neighborhood street.

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