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home : current news : current news August 20, 2017

6/6/2017 12:26:00 PM
Rules of roundabouting
By Sue Stafford

The roundabout at the intersection of Highway 20/Barclay/McKinney Butte has been open to traffic for almost two weeks. The City of Sisters and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) shared "Roundabouting 101" in hopes of clearing up any confusion regarding roundabout etiquette.

The main purpose of the roundabout is to reduce the number and severity of motor vehicle crashes at this intersection. At the same time, the roundabout maintains access to businesses, residential communities, schools, lodging, commercial and industrial developments, and the alternate truck route for all users of Highway 20.

It has been proven that roundabouts reduce crashes with an over 90 percent reduction in fatalities, a 76 percent reduction in injuries, a 35 percent reduction in the total number of crashes, and very little reported pedestrian and bicycle crash experience.

"The roundabout we have on our highway is the same as most of the roundabouts in Bend - a single-lane roundabout, just a bigger version. Same rules apply. You yield to cars that are in the roundabout, and you signal to indicate where you leave the roundabout," explained Nicole Abbenhuis, public works operations coordinator for the City of Sisters.

There are four main things to remember when driving through a roundabout. Slow down when approaching a roundabout. Circle counter-clockwise around the circle. Yield to traffic already in the roundabout because vehicles in the roundabout have the right-of-way. Do not stop within the circular portion of the roundabout, and never back up.

"When an emergency vehicle approaches, do not stop in the middle of the roundabout. Each vehicle in the roundabout should exit the first available leg of the roundabout and then pull over to the right, so emergency vehicles can go where they need to go," advised Abbenhuis.

Additional safety suggestions include the following: Roundabouts are designed for speeds between 15 to 25 miles per hour. Drivers should look for pedestrians in marked crossings before entering or exiting a roundabout. Keep to the right of the center median when entering the


Roundabouts are designed for passenger vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and freight.

They have been proven to be safer than signals or stop signs at intersections for all users. They create lower peak-hour and off-peak delays. And, as is the case of the Sisters roundabout, it provides gateway opportunities.

Remember to be patient with visitors and tourists who may be encountering the new roundabout for the first time. It will take awhile for everyone to become familiar with the newest landmark in town.

When passing through a roundabout, remember this simple phrase: "Yield in. Signal out."

A graphic presentation on roundabout navigation is available at the City of Sisters website,

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