Roundabouts – The Safer Choice


San Diego County’s Right of Way Standards for RSF state: “Traffic signals are highly destructive of the area’s scenic roadways. They shall only be allowed where safety concerns can not be otherwise mitigated.”

Federal studies reveal that when roundabouts replace traffic signals there are:

  • 90% fewer fatal collisions
  • 75% fewer injury collisions
  • 40% fewer pedestrian collisions
  • 37% fewer overall collisions

There are three reasons for these statistics:

  1. Roundabouts eliminate deadly broadside and head-on collisions. They replace the center of the intersection, known as the “kill zone,” with a landscaped center island.
  2. At roundabouts, there are fewer rear end collisions due to fewer sudden stops.
  3. When collisions do occur in a roundabout, they are at a reduced speed and most often result in property damage only.

In addition to safety, roundabouts:

  • Will reduce cut through traffic.
  • Have a 30-50% increase in traffic capacity.
  • May eliminate the need for future four lane roads.
  • Reduce noise, resulting in quieter neighborhoods.
  • Reduce emissions and fuel consumption by 30-40%.
  • Have a longer service life – 25 years vs. 10 years for signal equipment.
  • Have lower annual operational costs, requiring less maintenance and electricity.
  • Function when traffic signals malfunction.
  • Are aesthetically pleasing.
  • Calm traffic by reducing speeds (remember, speed kills).
  • Are safer for all drivers especially age 70 and older.
  • Provide substantial savings for society by reducing injury and fatal collisions.

SAFETY is my overwhelming reason to choose roundabouts, however, there are many other benefits to installing roundabouts. 

M. Kent Lemarié, MD

Emergency Physician and 39 year Covenant resident