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The Roundabout Conundrum

What do you think about roundabouts in eastern Pennsylvania?

Roundabouts are popping up all over Pennsylvania and despite their statistical safety improvements, many local drivers dread them because they haven’t had much experience with them.

Plan to See More Roundabouts Locally

Allentown and Easton have two prominent roundabouts in their City centers. Monroe County acquired one when the Marshall’s Creek bypass was constructed. Plans are in development to place at least one and possibly two on Route 209 in the west end near the Pleasant Valley High School. They are common in Europe and PennDot has plans to increase their use throughout Pennsylvania.

Statistics Show They Are Safer

PennDot reports that roundabouts offer improved safety over other at-grade intersections because roundabouts have fewer conflict points, slower speeds, and easier decision making. When comparing a roundabout to a signal, studies show that roundabouts provide:

  •  a 90 percent reduction in fatal crashes;
  • a 75 percent reduction in injury crashes;
  • a 30-40 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes; and
  • a 10 percent reduction in bicycle crashes.

Fans of the Mythbusters TV series may recall their episode showing that using roundabouts did result in getting through intersections more quickly.

It was National Roundabout Week

However, many of us still dread going through them because we don’t have much practice in using them. Since we just finished “National Roundabout Week” (yes, there’s a “week” for everything), we thought we would share this instructional video from PennDot with you.

We hope your future travels do not include driving endlessly through circles on Pennsylvania roads.

~Jerry Geiger

Please follow me on Twitter (@JerryGeiger) or email me at [email protected]. I welcome your suggestions on other topics of interest for blog posts relating to Motor Vehicle Safety and litigation.

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