Thursday, September 21, 2006

Accidents galore at Green Oak Roundabout

And I thought driving by Brighton High School at 2:30PM was bad.
What a zoo - from the Argus

Fifth accident at double roundabout site

Police said there was a minor accident this morning at the controversial new double roundabout in Green Oak Township. It's the fifth recorded accident since the controversial system of traffice circles opened last month. All have been relatively minor, say police, and all have been caused by a failure to yield.


Keith Richards said...

It would be much more interesting to see comparative accident rate information, such as how accident rates at the intersection compare to accident rates at a conventional intersection. It would also be interesting to know what the accident rate was at the Lee Road intersection before the construction was started.

But it is obvious that there is a problem. Every time I drive though it I see drivers who seem hesitant and confused. Many drivers stop and study the intersection even when there is no oncoming traffic, which slows things way down but is better than being too careless. I'd bet most of the accidents were caused by people who were simply confused, as opposed to people driving too aggressively. IMHO the intersection is way too complicated, confusing drivers by forcing them to look for traffic coming from unexpected directions. Looking at the aerial photo provided by the county it is EASY to see ways in which the intersection could have been built to be less confusing. I have to suspect there is a hotshot on this project that wanted so badly to create a pure double roundabout (Rare!) that he/she refused to consider common sense modifications to the design. What I CAN"T understand is why the county leadership allowed such a risky unproven intersection to be built.

Bachbone said...

Friends who live in Brighton showed me their "new" traffic controls. I haven't researched this, but I seem to recall many states had these "roundabouts" when I was a kid. They don't now. Even New England seemed to be getting rid of them when I was last there. So, why is MI now using them? It must be $$$. Everything today boils down to that.

The "confusion" factor gets my vote for the accident rates. When in New England, trying to determine where your route exited from a 5 or 6 spoke roundabout was almost suicidal during a rush hour. Thank God I had a copilot who could watch route signs while I watched the local crazies ignoring "YIELD" signs as I struggled to get or stay in the proper lane to exit where I wanted.

Roundabouts are Excedrin headache no. 29!

Pogo said...

It is all what people are used to. When visiting England a few years ago a friend told me that a lot of Americans get run over while crossing streets in England because they look the wrong way before crossing - since the English drive on the opposite side of the road compared to Americans, the order of searching for oncoming traffic is reversed.

But English pedestrians have no trouble because they grew up with the system, and I would imagine they have the same problems when visiting North America.

So it goes with roundabouts. They probably work OK when drivers are raised around them and encounter them frequently, but they are a tough nut to crack for drivers used to conventional 4-way intersections.