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Last updated Tuesday, Oct 04, 2022 11:25 AM

Road safety

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How to use a roundabout​

Whether you’re a motorist, cyclist or pedestrian, it's important to understand how to safely use a roundabout.

A roundabo​​ut is a circular intersection with a central island and without stop signs or traffic signals. Traffic flows counter-clockwise in a roundabout.

Watch this video on how to use roundabouts.​

Tips for drivers

  • As you approach the roundabout, slow down and watch for signs to help you select which lane you need to be in.
  • With multi-lane roundabouts, signs and markings on the road would direct you to which lane you should be in depending on where you’re heading. Unless otherwise indicated, the general rule for a two-lane approach are as follows:
    • Left-turning vehicles should be in the left lane.
    • Right-turning vehicles should be in the right lane.
    • Vehicles heading straight can be in the left or right lane.
  • You'll see crosswalks on the entry legs to the roundabout. You need to yield to any pedestrians or cyclists in the crosswalk, and be sure you don't block it.
  • Yield to traffic that's already inside the roundabout—it has the right of way.
  • Drive counter-clockwise within the asphalt lane.
  • There is usually a raised or coloured apron around the centre island in the roundabout. It's there for large trucks and emergency vehicles only. Stay off that area.
  • Keep moving while you're in the roundabout. If an emergency vehicle approaches, don't block its path. 
  • When you're leaving the roundabout, signal a right turn just before you exit. That lets drivers waiting to enter the roundabout and pedestrians waiting to cross know your intentions.
  • Look to the left and yield to pedestrians crossing the exit lane. Enter when it is safe to do so.

Tips for cyclists

  • Use hand signals as normal to indicate your intent to other riders, drivers and pedestrians.
  • If you're riding on the road, use the following rules:
    • Merge with traffic before you enter the roundabout.
    • Stay in the middle of the lane to avoid collisions with vehicles exiting to the right.
  • If you're riding on a bike path, use the following rules:
    • Enter the roundabout via the ramp that extends from the shoulder of the road.
    • Watch your speed when you're on the pathway and be aware of pedestrians.
    • Dismount and use the marked crosswalks to cross the intersecting streets.

 Tips for pedestrians

  • Use the sidewalks and crosswalks around the outside of the roundabout. Do not cut across the middle of the roundabout.
  • Just like crossing any road, wait for a gap in traffic, or until all vehicles are stopped.
  • Be aware of cyclists sharing the crosswalk and pathways.

The benefits

  • Roundabouts improve traffic flow and can even reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • They reduce serious crashes, injuries and fatalities because they essentially eliminate the chance of a head-on collision or a crash involving a left turn.
  • They improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

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