(file photo)

Council, residents, RCMP and ICBC weigh-in on how to use a Okanagan roundabout

There is uncertainty when it comes to operating a rounabout

Brianne Herridge crosses a crosswalk and rounds a roundabout in Lake Country on her way to work or when she is going for a walk in the neighbourhood.

She said on numerous occasions, cars zoom past her when she’s waiting at the crosswalk and near collisions happen routinely at the roundabout.

“It’s a little frustrating,” Herridge said, a Turtle Bay Pub and Starbucks employee.

The roundabouts this Lake Country resident uses are the ones located in The Lakes development, mainly at Oceola and Lake Hill.

READ MORE: Okanagan man dies after vehicle crashes into tree, catching on fire

In his three years with the district detachment, RCMP Cpl. Doug Haftner said he has never personally attended a crash scene at a roundabout.

Haftner concluded that the correct way to use a roundabout is to yield to the car that is already in the roundabout.

If a motorist is carrying on past the first stop, they should activate their left-turn signal to note that they are not exiting, then flip to their right-turn signal when exiting.

“It’s not Motor Vehicle Act regulations that the use of the signal is regulated,” Haftner said. “But it’s the most safe way to use the roundabout system.”

READ MORE: ICBC to increase optional premiums for drivers caught speeding

However, Lake Country resident Dean Fleming said, “Stop and think people. You are never ever to trust a signaling driver. If you pull out in front of someone with their signal on and they hit you, it is your fault.

“Don’t use your signal in a roundabout at all, ever. It’s unsafe.”

Matthew Salmon, director of engineering and environmental services for Lake Country, said even the district has a bit of confusion over what the correct way to use a roundabout is.

The United Kingdom-born engineer is used to using his left signal for the third (or left) exit only, but here he noticed that it’s done differently.

“The fundamental principles don’t change,” he said. “You always have to drive with due care and good intentions.”

One of those fundamental principles that he expressed garners plenty of complaints: look left before entering the roundabout and yield to cars that are already in the roundabout.

“From my experience, people don’t do the look left thing,” Salmon said. “There’s a conflict in information”

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Roundabouts were developed throughout Lake Country because it curbs speeding by physically making a driver slowdown while turning and therefore, creates a safer driving environment.

The District of Lake Country website has posted a roundabout navigation video, to defuze confusion about proper signalling and usage.

You can find the video by visiting the “roads and sidewalks” category, located under “living in our community” tab.

ICBC stated that roundabouts improve traffic flow, reduce serious crashes, injuries and can even reduce greenhouse gas emissions; mainly when they are used properly.

“When you’re leaving the roundabout, signal a right turn just before you exit,” ICBC wrote on their website.

“That lets drivers waiting to enter the roundabout and pedestrians waiting to cross know your intentions.”

Drivers are to yield to pedestrians before crossing the exit lane but otherwise, are not to stop while inside the roundabout, according to ICBC.

Cyclists can ride either with traffic or in the bike lane.

For riders who are riding on the road, they are to merge with traffic before you enter the roundabout.

For those who are using the bike lane, enter the roundabout via the ramp that extends from the shoulder of the road.

“I hope we can all be safe and get through all this construction in one piece,” Herridge said.

READ MORE: Vehicle smashes sign and cars in a parking lot in South Okanagan



David Venn
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at david.venn@kelownacapnews.com
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