The Magic Roundabout

America doesn't have many roundabouts because even if you understand how one works, you have to worry about other drivers who don't. But they are a fact of life in Britain. The ultimate roundabout is this one in Swindon that is actually a cluster of roundabouts in one intersection.  

The Magic Roundabout in Swindon, England, constructed in 1972, is the most brilliant and at the same time, the most confusing roundabout ever built. The roundabout, named after the popular children's television series by the same name, is located near the County Ground and consists of five mini-roundabouts arranged in a circle. At first sight, it might appear to confuse or amuse new visitors and certainly baffle tourists but once you understand how the roundabout works you will realize how revolutionary the idea is.

Other pictures and diagrams at Amusing Planet may help you parse out what is supposed to happen. Keep in mind that driving on the  left side of the road is the correct thing to do in this location. Link -via the Presurfer

(Image credit: Google Earth)


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There are roundabouts with traffic lights too... but the point of the roundabout is to save the traffic light stop. The lights are getting smarter, they're just not smart enough yet... if they'd get real smart (like telling each other about traffic they've passed) then they'd be more efficient than roundabouts... which BTW take up more space than lights or signs. And the 'some people' argument begs the question... anyone driving should have been trained properly, yes? I don't expect to see them in USA, we're too far gone... and when the self-driving car comes out, the point will be moot.
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I've come across one roundabout, but apparently it didn't work well, because there are now stop signs controlling two directions of the four, but they didn't remove the roundabout, so it seems to be a way to slow traffic through the intersection.
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I believe the exact opposite, an intersection with modern traffic lights is much safer than a roundabout because everyone has a designated time when its safe for them to go.

The problem with any intersection whether it is older stop lights, stop signs, or a roundabout is yielding, some people don't know when to yield or who to yield to.

Also are you saying that a roundabout takes less or more space than a signed intersection?
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I suppose it's up to the state. In Kentucky now, a child has to have 60 hours logged lessons from a parent or guardian OR a professional teacher, which there aren't enough of. If you don't take drivers ed, you have to go to a couple of community meetings where they show you scary films of car wrecks. Then you can take the licensing road test, but you are restricted until age 18 even then -you can't drive with more than one unrelated person in the car, and you can't drive after midnight unless you have a job.
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Give a Man a Fish - Twaggies by Twaggies
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