Letter: Confused about right-of-way in a roundabout? Refer to Colorado Driver Handbook
Gentlemen: I have a few comments on Ryan Conway’s Saturday, Dec. 9, article on right of way in roundabouts (“Roundabouts: Who has the right of way?”).
The article’s base assumption seems to be that when approaching a roundabout, you should never stop. According to the Colorado Driver Handbook, this is not true. A yield sign indicates drivers must reduce speed or stop, if necessary, to yield right-of-way to any traffic. Therefore, the Eagle County Sheriff stopped at an Avon roundabout was correctly following the law.
The author’s rendition of an encounter with a speedster deserves comment. Certainly speeders are not to be rewarded, but who was wrong? According to the Colorado Driver Handbook, one yielding right-of-way should not enter if doing so requires a vehicle or vehicles already in a lane to slow down. After having an accident in the roundabout, do you want to be arguing that the other driver was speeding (how do you prove that)?
The train of cars argument also appears to be wrong. If you are the approaching car and can’t get into the circle without slowing an oncoming car’s progress, you must stop. Once stopped, the author is correct, you wait. After you have slowed or stopped, you may not impede a car already in the circle. Bummer.
The author appears to want to invent a new category of roundabout driver; the “barger.” The Barger is a driver that somehow intuits that he knows he approached the intersection first and should blast ahead of that car. Our handy Manual provides guidance here. “Although yielding right-of-way rules provide a guide to determine who should yield the right-of-way, no one should assume he or she automatically has the right-of-way.”