New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas Wednesday offered guidance for traveling through roundabouts as they become more common on roads in the Southern Tier region. Roundabouts are safer, more sustainable and more efficient than traditional intersections. Crashes in roundabouts are less severe, resulting in fewer injuries and fatalities. They help traffic move more smoothly, reducing congestion and improving air quality.
“Communities across New York State have benefited from the construction of roundabouts, which improve intersection safety and reduce vehicle emissions including carbon dioxide,” Acting Commissioner Karas said. “As with all our transportation improvement projects, roundabouts support Governor Cuomo’s effort to boost local economies by providing quick, convenient access to area businesses.”
NYSDOT’s Southern Tier region includes Allegany, Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler and Yates counties.
A roundabout is a circular intersection without traffic signals, which is engineered to maximize safety and minimize congestion. Traffic travels counterclockwise with ramps for incoming traffic to yield.
Roundabouts see a decrease in the severity of crashes, which typically occur at a slow speed and include side swipes and fender-benders, greatly reducing the chance of deadly head-on or T-bone crashes.
Traffic flows more freely through roundabouts than at traditional intersections, cutting congestion and commute time. Reduced vehicle idling time means fewer fuel emissions and improved air quality. Roundabouts eliminate the need for electricity-powered traffic signals, provide a more walkable community, and an aesthetically pleasing landscape.
Drivers are reminded:
- Watch traffic signs and pavement markings to determine the correct lane to be in before entering the roundabout. Once inside the roundabout do not change lanes.
- Use the left lane to make left turns and use the right lane to make right turns. Follow signs and markings to determine which lane(s) go straight.
- Traffic in the roundabout has the right-of-way.
- Vehicles wishing to enter should yield at the yield line and look for oncoming traffic on their left.
- Enter the roundabout when there is an adequate gap in the circulating traffic flow.
- Always yield to pedestrians and keep crosswalks clear.
- Cars and trucks should yield to bicycle traffic and not pass them.
- As you approach your exit, turn on your right turn signal.
Bicyclists are permitted to ride within the roundabout and should follow the flow of traffic, riding in the middle of the lane to prevent being passed or cut off. Hand turning signals should be used. If bicyclists choose not to ride in the roundabout, they should dismount prior to the intersection and proceed as a pedestrian walking their bicycle, on the sidewalk if present.
Crosswalks for pedestrians are generally just outside of the main flow of the roundabout’s traffic. Walkers, runners, and dismounted bikers should always to look before crossing and only cross one direction of traffic at a time. Never cross to the center island.
NYSDOT provides additional information online regarding roundabouts, as well as downloadable brochures, at https://www.dot.ny.gov/main/roundabouts.