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Indiana Roundabouts vs 4-Way Stops

Steve Wagner

Over the past several years, many towns in Indiana have added roundabouts in the interests of efficiency and safety. Carmel has added 94 roundabouts in recent years, with more planned for the future. Indianapolis and Greenwood have jumped on the bandwagon and are continuing to grow the number of roundabouts being utilized.

That said, Indiana citizens, and Americans in general, have a long history and a high comfort level with the 4-way traffic stop. Are roundabouts more efficient and safer, or is this just a passing fad with little promise for reducing the number of drivers injured in Indiana car accidents?

Cheaper, Faster, Safer

The impact of replacing 4-way stops with roundabouts is well documented. With no traffic signals to maintain or replace, municipalities can save taxpayer dollars. Fuel costs for individual drivers can be lowered since roundabouts do not require the constant sit-and-idle that 4-way stops do. In addition, roundabouts can increase the number of vehicles passing through an intersection by 20% or more in a given time frame.

Most importantly, roundabouts increase safety in multiple ways. The Federal Highway Administration has found that they decrease fatalities by 90%, personal injuries by 76%, and all crashes by 35%. Single-lane roundabouts increase safety not just for drivers, but for pedestrians as well. How do they achieve this? The design of the roundabout is key to effective reduction of vehicular accidents and personal injury.

  • Their circular shape forces slower speeds and substantially lowers the risk of accidents, particularly those at high speeds.
  • Location of entry points and single-directional movement of cars create fewer potential points of conflict for vehicles and greatly reduces the odds of head-on and right-angle collisions.
  • Slower speed and need to observe traffic from a single direction increases pedestrian safety.

Given these huge benefits to public safety, one would hope to see cities and towns embracing the roundabout as a good option to replace their most dangerous traditional 4-way stops. Though not appropriate in every situation, dependent on space, traffic patterns and density, etc., it is clear that roundabouts reduce the risk of car accidents and personal injury to citizens.

Possible Exceptions?

Though largely agreed upon as a better alternative to traditional 4-way stop, there are mixed reviews when it comes to the safety of bicyclists. Multi-lane roundabouts may also pose increased risk to pedestrians, as well as to bicyclists, and their design and implementation are absolutely critical to ensuring the safety of those more vulnerable on the roadway.

Have You Been Injured in a Roundabout or Traditional 4-Way Stop Accident?

With the recent boom in the construction of roundabouts in Indiana and the newness of the concept to many individuals, it can be confusing to sort out the facts of an accident that occurs inside one. There are many complicating factors, and the support of an experienced Indianapolis accident attorney can help you focus on your recovery and healing while still getting the compensation you deserve.

If you have been injured in a roundabout or traditional traffic stop accident, please contact Wagner & Reese for a FREE consultation. We can potentially help you recover lost wages, medical costs, and damages for pain and suffering. Call us now at (888) 204-8440 and let us provide you the assistance you need and deserve.

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