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Internationally, roundabouts are a common road configuration. As time has passed, they have increasingly become an option in the United States as an attempt to slow traffic and utilize limited road space. Recently, more of them are showing up in Minnesota. Recently, there has been discussions about adding one to County Road 14, or 75th Street Northwest in Rochester. In the last five years that area has seen 24 crashes and is ranked as one of the most accident-prone areas in southeastern Minnesota.

I recently drive on the couple out near Hutchinson, the one in Edina and regularly drive the one in Sartell. They look good and once people get the hang of them, they should meet their goals. Federal studies have shown that roundabouts drop the number of overall crashes by 35 percent and the number of injury crashes by 76 percent.

Hopefully, as more people use them we will all see the benefits. With more roundabouts coming to the surrounding counties it will be something that more Minnesotans will need to get used to. The New York Transportation Department has posted a number of very helpful animations as to how to best use these changes. Simply getting used to slowing down should help, as reaction times will be longer and most impacts should be less severe


  1. Gravatar for Truckie D

    Roundabouts? Aarrrgh!

    If there's one thing on highways that I hate, it's roundabouts. It's enough to want to make me quit trucking and go flip burgers for a living.

    There are several problems with them:

    Many people don't know how to properly enter, navigate, and exit roundabouts. They also don't realize the amount of space a truck needs to negotiate one.

    Many of them are poorly designed. The most common problem is that they're too small for trucks to negotiate safely and easily.

    In the town where I live, they've recently built several. Imagine their chagrin when they found out that they were too small for some of the city's fire appliances to negotiate.

    Roundabouts can also cause severe problems when it comes to overdimensional loads. There's simply not enough room in many.

    Another problem comes from beautification schemes. Planting trees etc. in a roundabout may look nice, but it interferes with visibility.

    While we're on the subject of visibility, it's very difficult for truck drivers to see around them while in the roundabout.

    Semi-trailers "off-track" - that is, the trailer follows a shorter path than the tractor. This usually means that a truck will take up the entire width of the roundabout - and sometimes more.

    Give me a stop sign or a traffic light anytime. I can see both ways, and all around.


  2. The have done a great job with reducing collisions, is it possible that restricting certain types of vehicles played a role? Maybe not. It should be a great concern that safety vehicles are having a problem. Thanks for taking the time to read and as always give a perspective that not everyone considers. I appreciate it.

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