Roundabouts Reduce Auto and Motorcycle Accidents in Indianapolis, IN – Bicyclists Most At Risk European Studies Show
Carmel Indiana leads nation in number of community roundabouts
In 2007 Sperlings Best Places named Carmel, Indiana 19th for the “Best Metro Area in America”. It takes an outstanding city and vision to prove that government can work with efficiency and in the people’s best interests. Today, Carmel, Indiana leads the nation with a total of 85 roundabouts and the numbers continue to grow in Carmel and towns across the country.
History of traffic circles in the United States
Traffic circles have been part of the transportation system in the United States since 1905 starting with Columbus Circle in New York City. The large circle designs in use worldwide permitted high-speed weaving and merging with the greatest consideration given to vehicles entering at high speeds. But as the population grew, large numbers of crash, accidents and congestion increased causing the previously popular rotaries to fall out of favor in both Canada and America. Alexander Ralston modeled the Indianapolis plat based upon the Washington D.C. grid; his design included a circular street which later became known as Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. Today, his roundabout still operates with efficiency and remains an historic landmark for the city as well.
Modern roundabouts, however, were perfected in England when the British saw an opportunity to remodel the roundabout by adopting a mandatory “give-way” rule at all circular intersections that required entering traffic to give way, or yield, to circulating traffic.
How Do Safety Design Issues Measure Up?
Intersections are one of the most complex traffic situations that motorists encounter. With today’s improved roundabout model, there are only 8 sites of potential conflict whereas in the traditional 4-way stop, 32 potential conflict sites exist. Thus, roundabouts reduce the number of accidental encounters. As a result of the slow precautionary speeds of entry and rotary, crash severity has also been reduced. In 2001, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) found that roundabouts had 80% fewer accidents with injury than ordinary intersections. Statistics obtained from the Carmel Police Department, show property damages also appear to drop between 66% and 85%. And although property damages don’t necessarily equate with the degree of personal injuries, indications are still very impressive. You can view Carmel’s engineering study of roundabouts.
The US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration states: “While overall crash frequencies have been reduced, the crash reductions are most pronounced for motor vehicles, less pronounced for pedestrians, and equivocal for bicyclists, depending on the study and bicycle design treatments.”
Other studies conducted in several European countries where bicycles are more commonplace than in the U.S., have found that cyclists fare worse than motorcycles and cars. But all European countries agree that a more careful design is necessary to enhance the safety of bicyclists. These studies show that crashes typically occur: (1) between entering cars and circulating bicyclists; and (2) between cars heading into an exit and circulating bicyclists.
European design of roundabouts have improved accident statistics of cyclists
As a result, European countries have instituted the following design changes in their roundabouts: (1) allowing bicyclists to mix with vehicle traffic; and (2) allowing bicyclists to use dedicated lanes outside of the traffic area and within a car’s lane away from motorists. The latter option has been instituted and is the standard in most rural areas of European countries. The National Highway Administration recommends bicyclists ride their bike as a vehicle in the motoring lanes or walk the bicycle with the pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Learn how to navigate the roundabouts
It’s hard to proclaim a downside of reduced speeds, cost effectiveness, less pollution, congestion and potential points of conflict, as well as the overall safety enhancement gained by implementing roundabouts in Carmel Indiana and cities nationwide. Roundabouts, also called rotaries, are gaining traction all over Indiana. But education is key to understanding how to safely navigate the roundabouts you may encounter. To become educated on the driving regulations of roundabout safety, visit the Federal Highway Administrations website.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Indianapolis
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle accident as a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorist, it’s important to speak with an experienced Indianapolis, IN personal injury attorney. Ward & Ward Law Firm has over 80 years of combined experience in personal injury law including accident and wrongful death claims. Our firm receives no legal fees or expenses unless we collect damages on your behalf. Call Charlie Ward today at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your claim. Our attorneys are available to speak with you.
(317) 639-9501Ward & Ward Law Firm 728 S Meridian St Indianapolis, IN 46225