Letter: There are two basic rules to navigate a roundabout: Yield and signal
To the editor: I read with some amusement Ryan Conway’s commentary last week regarding roundabout etiquette (“Roundabouts: Who has the right of way?” Saturday, Dec. 9). I’ve lived in Colorado for more than 30 years but grew up in New England and spent a lot of time in Europe, where roundabouts are common (in New England, they’re called “rotaries”).
Although I know many people who are not fond of them, roundabouts are without question the most efficient way to keep traffic merging to a common point moving smoothly. Remember how bad the congestion in Eagle used to be, with traffic backing up onto Interstate 70, before the roundabouts were built there?
Since I grew up with “rotaries,” the proper etiquette for using them was well known to all, i.e. the vehicle already in the roundabout has the right of way. However, there is one other roundabout rule that seems to have escaped many Coloradans, and that is one should signal their exit from the roundabout, in the same way one would use their turn signal indicator to make a left or right turn. If everyone would start doing this, it would make roundabouts even more effective than they are already.
How many times have you’ve paused at the entry of a roundabout while yielding to a car already in it, only to have that car exit before getting to your spot? If people would only signal their intentions, you could enter the intersection without even having to stop at all, which is sort of the point of having a roundabout in the first place.
The beauty and simplicity of a roundabout is that there are only two rules to remember: Traffic entering a roundabout should yield to the traffic already in it, and traffic exiting the roundabout should signal their intention. Even motorists coming from a state bordered by New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana should be able to figure that out!