Time to write rules for roundabouts

Opinion Aug 02, 2017 Kitchener Post

With the widespread adoption of roundabouts, don’t you think it’s time that the rules of the road are laid out in the Ontario Highway Traffic Act?

Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris thinks it’s time and has been pushing the provincial government for the last five years to come up with more consistent roundabout rules and make it part of the instruction every new and old driver goes through around licence time.

Harris private member’s bill, the Safe Roundabout Act, passed second reading and debate in 2015, but died on the order paper when provincial parliament was prorogued.

It was that close to becoming the law of the land, and since then there has been little movement to align all the rules around roundabouts.

For instance, what rights are granted to pedestrians in roundabouts and what restrictions are there when they try to cross?

What is the proper way to signal your intention of proceeding or moving through a roundabout, and how do you make it part of regular driver behaviour?

The region has put in place its suggestions that tell motorists to signal right when exiting a roundabout, but signal left if they’re planning to drive through. There is no such statute in provincial law that requires this, and if you’re a regular roundabout user you know its still pretty much a free-for-all when it comes to signalling.

This has become such an interesting topic that a local student entered her research on roundabouts to the Canada-wide Science Fair two years in a row and achieved results and awards.

The most important thing the student found is that one driver’s behaviour normalizes other drivers’ behaviours. So if you signal your intention to exit, others will too. That should be research enough to tell the province that it must codify this behaviour for all roundabouts.

Why is that important?

Ask local police who have run into problems in writing tickets and assigning blame for accidents and incidents related to roundabouts. They’ve even had a difficult time laying charges or making them stick in court because of the uncertainty in the law.

There is a vacuum to fill and with no laws in site the wild west attitude will persist in roundabouts and people will remain suspicious of their wide adoption and use.

Kitchener MPPs Daiene Vernile said this is just a political point making on Harris’ part, and that there is direction in the province’s Official Driver’s Handbook to properly navigate roundabouts.

But Harris is right.

This isn’t about the efficacy of roundabouts its about the application of the laws around them. And unless they are spelled out, they leave too much to interpretation.


Time to write rules for roundabouts

Opinion Aug 02, 2017 Kitchener Post

With the widespread adoption of roundabouts, don’t you think it’s time that the rules of the road are laid out in the Ontario Highway Traffic Act?

Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris thinks it’s time and has been pushing the provincial government for the last five years to come up with more consistent roundabout rules and make it part of the instruction every new and old driver goes through around licence time.

Harris private member’s bill, the Safe Roundabout Act, passed second reading and debate in 2015, but died on the order paper when provincial parliament was prorogued.

It was that close to becoming the law of the land, and since then there has been little movement to align all the rules around roundabouts.

For instance, what rights are granted to pedestrians in roundabouts and what restrictions are there when they try to cross?

What is the proper way to signal your intention of proceeding or moving through a roundabout, and how do you make it part of regular driver behaviour?

The region has put in place its suggestions that tell motorists to signal right when exiting a roundabout, but signal left if they’re planning to drive through. There is no such statute in provincial law that requires this, and if you’re a regular roundabout user you know its still pretty much a free-for-all when it comes to signalling.

This has become such an interesting topic that a local student entered her research on roundabouts to the Canada-wide Science Fair two years in a row and achieved results and awards.

The most important thing the student found is that one driver’s behaviour normalizes other drivers’ behaviours. So if you signal your intention to exit, others will too. That should be research enough to tell the province that it must codify this behaviour for all roundabouts.

Why is that important?

Ask local police who have run into problems in writing tickets and assigning blame for accidents and incidents related to roundabouts. They’ve even had a difficult time laying charges or making them stick in court because of the uncertainty in the law.

There is a vacuum to fill and with no laws in site the wild west attitude will persist in roundabouts and people will remain suspicious of their wide adoption and use.

Kitchener MPPs Daiene Vernile said this is just a political point making on Harris’ part, and that there is direction in the province’s Official Driver’s Handbook to properly navigate roundabouts.

But Harris is right.

This isn’t about the efficacy of roundabouts its about the application of the laws around them. And unless they are spelled out, they leave too much to interpretation.


Time to write rules for roundabouts

Opinion Aug 02, 2017 Kitchener Post

With the widespread adoption of roundabouts, don’t you think it’s time that the rules of the road are laid out in the Ontario Highway Traffic Act?

Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris thinks it’s time and has been pushing the provincial government for the last five years to come up with more consistent roundabout rules and make it part of the instruction every new and old driver goes through around licence time.

Harris private member’s bill, the Safe Roundabout Act, passed second reading and debate in 2015, but died on the order paper when provincial parliament was prorogued.

It was that close to becoming the law of the land, and since then there has been little movement to align all the rules around roundabouts.

For instance, what rights are granted to pedestrians in roundabouts and what restrictions are there when they try to cross?

What is the proper way to signal your intention of proceeding or moving through a roundabout, and how do you make it part of regular driver behaviour?

The region has put in place its suggestions that tell motorists to signal right when exiting a roundabout, but signal left if they’re planning to drive through. There is no such statute in provincial law that requires this, and if you’re a regular roundabout user you know its still pretty much a free-for-all when it comes to signalling.

This has become such an interesting topic that a local student entered her research on roundabouts to the Canada-wide Science Fair two years in a row and achieved results and awards.

The most important thing the student found is that one driver’s behaviour normalizes other drivers’ behaviours. So if you signal your intention to exit, others will too. That should be research enough to tell the province that it must codify this behaviour for all roundabouts.

Why is that important?

Ask local police who have run into problems in writing tickets and assigning blame for accidents and incidents related to roundabouts. They’ve even had a difficult time laying charges or making them stick in court because of the uncertainty in the law.

There is a vacuum to fill and with no laws in site the wild west attitude will persist in roundabouts and people will remain suspicious of their wide adoption and use.

Kitchener MPPs Daiene Vernile said this is just a political point making on Harris’ part, and that there is direction in the province’s Official Driver’s Handbook to properly navigate roundabouts.

But Harris is right.

This isn’t about the efficacy of roundabouts its about the application of the laws around them. And unless they are spelled out, they leave too much to interpretation.