LETTER: Roundabout, not traffic light the answer to deadly intersection

LETTER: Roundabout, not traffic light the answer to deadly intersection


Like many others, I have frequently observed the intersection of 40 Avenue and Highway 15 being an accident waiting to happen. Now that this accident has happened I am disappointed that the “go-to” response is that we need a traffic light.

I had the benefit of learning to drive in the UK and being schooled in the benefit of the roundabout. I was taught that road accidents happen mostly at intersections between two vehicles travelling in different directions and most frequently when vehicles are turning across other traffic.

The benefit of a roundabout is that vehicles travelling in all directions must slow down to prepare to negotiate the intersection, regardless of if they are turning or going straight ahead. There is no accelerating toward a green light to get through before it changes to red. Additionally, there are no left turns, everyone turns right into the roundabout and then turns right again to exit.

In the roundabout itself everyone is going in the same direction which significantly reduces the chance of collision. It is also worthy of note that roundabouts do not impede traffic flow to the extent that traffic lights do because the only reason for coming to a stop at a roundabout is to yield to a vehicle that is already in the circle, whereas it is common to see long lineups at lights with there being periods of time when there are no vehicles going through the intersection itself.

A further benefit of a roundabout on divided roads, like Highway 15, is they eliminate the need for people to make “U” turns. This is particularly beneficial where there are businesses or property access points along the route on both sides.

I have been here for nearly 40 years and was delighted a few years ago when a few roundabouts, albeit smaller than they really should be, started to appear. In recent years, however, I have noted that this trend has diminished. I know that people who are not familiar with roundabouts can be initially confused by them, however most of the people I have spoken to agree that with familiarity the benefits become obvious. Perhaps ICBC could fund and broadcast some instructional PSAs to help drivers become knowledgeable of the benefits and protocols associated with approaching and negotiating roundabouts. I am confident that a greater embrace of the concept would lead to less frustration and therefore greater safety on our roads.

Bob Askew, Surrey