BBC Says America is Falling in Love With Roundabouts; BBC is Full of Shit

The BBC has a profile of Carmel, Indiana, which has become the "roundabout capital" of America. In the piece, the mayor proudly boasts that he removed 78 sets of traffic lights and replaced them with roundabouts "because of the expense saved and more importantly the safety." It's suggested that America has "started to embrace the free-flowing British circular." Have we? Let's take a look at the pros and cons.

PRO: Safety.
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard quotes a study "which suggests there is on average a 40% decrease in all accidents and a 90% drop in fatal ones when a traffic intersection is replaced by a roundabout."

CON: Roundabouts? C'mon.
How the hell are we supposed to drag race if we can't grip it and rip it off the line when the lights turn green? When some dillweed in a Trans Am starts acting like he's better than you, you can't show him who's boss in a roundabout. Yes, you can flip him the bird, but that's only half the battle

PRO: Aesthetics.
Carmel's roundabouts are beautifully landscaped and feature sculptures and fountains. Intersections are unappealing grids of asphalt.

CON: Roundabouts? Please.
Aren't roundabouts the traffic equivalent of the metric system? If we didn't take the time to learn what a centimeter is, we aren't going to practice twirling in circles in our cars.

PRO: Reduces travel time.
By smoothly transitioning through a roundabout, commuters avoid waiting at stop lights. The rotaries encourage a free flow of traffic with minimal stopping.

Roundabouts? You gotta be kidding me.
"Where's the nearest liquor store?" some hot babe asks you in the line at Checkers. What sounds cooler: "Well sweet lady, it's on the corner of Bad and Ass," or; "It's just off the third curl of the Periwinkle Roundabout?" Yeah, we thought so.

Saves money.
Mayor Brainard tells the BBC that reduced maintenance and fuel costs lead to long-term savings.

CON: Roundabouts? Yeah right, buddy.
If you have a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other, how are you supposed to safely drive around a roundabout with your knees? That's pretty irresponsible of a municipality to force that upon its citizens.

PRO: Once people get accustomed to them, they are a breeze.
Unlike circles in Washington, DC or New Jersey, Carmel uses the British versions that are much simpler and easier to navigate.

CON: Roundabouts? Get out of here.
Seriously, get out of here.

Is the British roundabout conquering the US? [BBC]


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Oh... you mean rotaries. We use them in New England all the time without making such a ridiculous fuss over it. (BTW, if you mean to say that they make driving tame and unadventurous? You clearly ain't been to Massachusetts, home of the two-way one-way-street.)


your con's make no sense. sound pretty typical for someone who thinks they are ohsocool 


My UK home town is famous for it's roundabouts but the trend in recent years has been back towards lights


New roundabouts all over Leucadia and Encinitas, CA.

Just sayin'.


Love the roundabout - many in Palm Desert ,,,

Oleg Sendzyuk
Oleg Sendzyuk

Your point makes no sense as Nascar and Indy are American. They are just a roundabout you don't exit for hundreds of miles. Last time i asked a girl about what she thought of turning left for hours, she didn't give me the look you'd expect after making a bad ass comment.

Roundabout, turning left, MADE IN AMERICA, denied by America.


Was that humor?  As a traffic engineer I sometimes have trouble figuring out when someone is trying to be funny.  Maybe you weren't trying?  Maybe you were doing the best you could?

    Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world.  Visit for safety facts.  The safety comes from the ‘slow and go’ operation instead of the ‘stop or go fast’ way a stop light works (or the ‘keep going fast’ large traffic circle fantasy).  The smaller size of the modern roundabout is what makes them safer and keeps speeds in the 20 mph range.  This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians.  It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low.  Safety is the #1 reason there are over 2,200 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way.      Slow and go also means less delay than a stop light, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work.  Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car.  At a modern roundabout average delay is under five seconds. Signals take an hour of demand and restrict it to a half hour – at best only half the traffic gets to go at any one time.  At a modern roundabout four drivers entering from four directions can all enter at the same time.  Don’t try that with a signalized intersection.

AK,If you need a signal to cross a street....BTW, modern roundabouts have splitter islands in the middle, so you only have to concentrate on one direction of traffic at a time.  You can string together two opposing gaps that don't match.  Also, since modern roundabouts operate at about 20 mph, cars are easier to dodge.

Asston Kutcher
Asston Kutcher

How are pedestrians supposed to cross the street without traffic lights?


They have the cross walks put back before the circle.  I have seen one where, the crosswalk has a island in the middle (they used the triangle island just before the roundabout) so the pedestrians have to just look for traffic on one side, than after reaching the island, the other side.  Much safer design.

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