5 Reasons Why the Roundabout Sucks

Posted by at 10:51AM

I don’t know about anyone else, but I think the new roundabouts suck and I just want to explain why. Here are 5 reasons:
1 – People don’t understand what to do – I see people look really confused and slow down, causing accidents and annoyed bikers everywhere.
2 – People refuse to go the right way – I am a Stanford student, and no one is going to tell me what to do! I do this and I know other people are sticking it to the Man too by not following the roundabout.
3 – It looks stupid – It’s way too big, there’s grass inside the circle, one of them has a tiny little chain link “guard rail” around it.
4 – Sense of security – Lots of people are now thinking “Oh, there is a roundabout. It MUST be safe”. Wrong.
5 – No more “Intersection of Death” – The IoD used to be a rich source of cautionary tales that is woven into the Stanford tapestry. Until it was replaced by this sterile, bureaucratic solution.
Feel free to add your reasons below – either for or against.

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9 Responses to “5 Reasons Why the Roundabout Sucks”

  1. Edward M. Beaux says:

    I can’t say I agree with your assessment, mainly because I can’t really identify any one of the reasons you’ve given that has any substance to it or stands up to even a small amount of consideration.
    1. It is a roundabout. We are in America. You go right around roundabouts. There are arrows on the ground that say as much.
    2. Of course the roundabout’s going to suck if people go the opposite way arbitrarily, because roundabouts are made to encourage people *not* go the opposite way arbitrarily. Go right. It’s not that hard, nor is it an assault on your personal integrity. Going left just because “no one is going to tell me what to do” is childish.
    3. I don’t really have a problem with the aesthetics. The only thing I’ve found that looks stupid is the occasional security/traffic guard they’ve got stationed out there, looking bored and lonely. Also, people who go left.
    4. I’m not entirely sure what your point is with this one. Care to elaborate?
    5. This is the one reason that sucks the least, mainly because as a college student I, too, am against everything sterile and bureaucratic. However, I can’t really say I’m going to miss nearly dying every morning on my way to class.
    In my opinion, the roundabouts are pretty decently pretty (although the safety chain thing is, I will admit, sort of dumb), functional, and unobtrusive. I don’t really have a problem with them.

  2. Mike Priest says:

    I agree with Edward.
    Jason: My advice to you is to sack up and do your civic duty: yell at anyone who doesn’t obey the roundabout. The responsibility for making the roundabout work is ours, and we can’t tolerate any fools who don’t respect a helpful traffic control device.

  3. David says:

    Actually, I think you summed it up nicely, Jason. The main reason the roundabout doesn’t work is precisely because of people like you who, thinking themselves wonderful little rebels by sticking it to the man (oh, and incidentally, all the rest of us too) by going the wrong way about a roundabout. Yeah, dude, umm, rock on or something.
    Think about red lights. If there were idiots who thought that nobody should tell them what to do with red lights, driving would be vastly more dangerous than it is now.

  4. Jason says:

    I am loving all this feedback. I really ought to post more controversial posts like this all the time. To be fair, I haven’t crashed so far and I try to make sure my rebellion only affects myself by avoiding obviously dangerous situations.

  5. masaru says:

    jason, i completely agree with the intersection of death part. my first thought when i read about it on the daily site was, oh no! no more intersection of death?? it really is an integral part of the stanford experience i think, oddly enough. however,
    i definitely go the wrong way going south on the panama mall roundabout most of the time because it’s too much of a bother to go around, but only if there’s little traffic. most people do this i think, it’s just those stupid people who go against traffic when there are a lot of bikes.
    about people having a false sense of security, it annoys me when people are walking through the middle of the roundabout and the middle of the street. there are sidewalks purposely constructed with this in mind. this is what he means by point 4, edward.
    an issue i’ve had with the roundabout that you didn’t mention is figuring out where someone is going. people are sometimes on the inside when they want to turn out and then everyone involved slows down. similarly, if you’re trying to enter the roundabout, it’s hard to tell if someone wants to turn out in front of you.
    on a related note, does anyone know any stats about the effectiveness of the roundabouts in terms of reduced accidents, say? i feel like during peak traffic hours, it is somewhat helpful, but otherwise it seems like another obstacle.

  6. megan says:

    personally, I just think it’s super awesome that the Stanford band (yes, the LSJUMB) installed a rather homemade roundabout last year during Big Game week, and that the administration left it up ALL year long because they recognized that it was helping with the intersection of death traffic. Then they built a real one. Basically, because of a renegade student installation, the administration made a significant change to campus facilities/grounds. I just think that’s pretty awesome. Way to go LSJUMB. Now, we just need to find creative ways to make the roundabout into a piece of art :)

  7. Ben says:

    Those are true problems you’ve listed, but the solution isn’t to get rid of the roundabout. It is to:
    -Get renegade artists working under cloak of night to make it look less terrible, because those woodchips and spiky plants are hideous
    -When you see some idiot forcing their way left through a barrage of people doing it right, dismount and punch that person in the face.

  8. Jon says:

    Personally, I preferred the Band roundabout because it was smaller and less obtrusive. The larger ones create less space for biking and therefore cram people together more.
    That said, I think it’s kinda nice that the school built something to make our lives a little bit safer.

  9. Andrew says:

    Roundabouts, in my opinion are much safer and less time consuming than a traditional crossroads. Drivers across Europe deal with them well and don’t seem to mind them much, perhaps your opinion of them is due to lack of use?
    Also they can be quite good looking! Some feature flowers, trees or even pieces of art work!

    There is a nice little Flash animation here http://www.sinoconcept.com/2012/01/09/approach-uk-roundabouts/ which shows you how to approach roundabouts.

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