Roundabouts may save lives
July 3, 2008 · Updated 8:43 PM
In 2007 there were 109 intersection-related fatality collisions in Washington causing 107 injuries and 113 deaths. Thirty-nine percent of those collisions (43) were entering-at-angle collisions.
One hundred-thirteen mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who didnt arrive safely at their destination due to an error in judgment, sometimes their own, sometimes someone elses.
The study of human behavior has yet to provide us clear answers as to why people still do not give proper respect to the operation of a motor vehicle. I agree with the News-Times editorial statement March 5 about engineers in that I cant relate to why people do the things they do when they drive.
But I can dedicate myself to studying those behaviors and designing facilities that allow people to commit errors and still survive the trip in order for them to complain about it.
We are well past the theory vs. practice argument made by roundabout skeptics, but it is still worthy of reasonable face-to-face discussion, a forum that newspapers unfortunately cannot provide. I have every confidence that the behaviors the News-Times cites (and many others not mentioned) will occur at the Sharpes Corner roundabout, because those behaviors are already occurring today at countless traditional intersections. The consequences, however, will be less tragic.
Im not claiming that roundabouts would have prevented all 113 intersection-related deaths last year, but Id be willing to bet they would have prevented more than any other alternative.