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    I know this discussion has taken place here before, but I think it is time to revisit after a recent encounter of mine in High Point.

    A couple of Sundays ago, I was on the way to my daughters soccer game at Walt Hundley Field in High Point. Traveling east on Holly from Sylvan Way, I came up to the round-about at Holly and 31st. As I pull up, all directions were clear and I proceeded to make an immediate left instead of pulling all the way around the round-about. Now everything I have read states that is perfectly legal. However, I had some guy behind me start screaming out of his car at me. As I was heading up 31st towards Walt Hundley Field, this dude screams up along side of me on a residential street screaming how I’m going to cause an accident, as if what he was doing was something safe. I asked him what his problem was, and after some nice names he gave me, he say’s I’m suppose to go around the traffic circle. I told him it wasn’t the law and he needs to read up before he tries and runs people off the road on a residential street for not going around a circle. I proceeded on 31st which was extremely congested with parked cars for baseball and soccer games. You could only get one car through at a time in either direction. As I crept though the parked cars, I came face-to-face with an oncoming car. The oncoming car politely squeezed into a space for me to get by, but as they were trying to squeeze into a spot, Mr. Traffic Circle behind me begins honking his horn. I ignore the guy and once the car in front of me clears, I press forward only to find another oncoming car. Again, the oncoming vehicle tries and find a space to clear and sure enough, the guy behind me begins honking again. I stick my head out of my window and scream back at him, “Where to you want me to go? There is a freakin’ car in front of me!” As I make it out of the parking gaunlet, I immediately pull over. But Mr. Traffic Circle speeds off.

    Long story short, I make a perfectly legal turn only to be tormented by a man who tries to run me off the road on a residential street, honks endlessly over non-emergency stuff, and speeds off in a park area where hundreds of children are. Some people need to stay out of the sun and just take vitamin d supplements.



    Granted this was 5 years ago, but this is a post about an answer I got from SDOT about this:

    “I had said I would be contacting SDOT to find out the answer on enforcement of “short left turns” in traffic circles, and this was their reply:

    “Thank you for your inquiry regarding the rules pertaining to left turns at neighborhood traffic circles. You are correct that the Washington Driver Guide (and the state law that the guide implements), does not distinguish between

    neighborhood traffic circles and roundabouts.

    Practically speaking, a left turn can be performed safely in front of a neighborhood traffic circle since they are typically located on low traffic volume and low speed residential streets, unlike roundabouts, which control traffic flow on higher volume arterials.

    However, under a strict interpretation of the Driver Guide and state laws, this is not a legal left turn, and similarly to roundabouts, a driver turning left at a neighborhood traffic circle should proceed counterclockwise around the traffic circle, rather than turning left in front of the circle.

    We recognize that this issue causes confusion, and the City will be working this year toward clarifying the distinction between neighborhood traffic circles and roundabouts in state law, addressing the issue in the Seattle Municipal

    Code, or both.”

    So I read this as yeah, you’ll probably get away with it because we usually ignore it, but it’s technically not legal to make the short left and you COULD get a ticket for it if somebody is bored and wants to write a ticket.”



    Oh, oops! Thank you for the info. Still, that dude flipped out and was pretty wreckless.



    Not legal, and SDOT’s response is ridiculous and irresponsible. Why make it more confusing? A traffic circle IS a roundabout. No wonder our traffic is a mess.



    “Neighborhood traffic calming circles are much smaller than modern roundabouts and often replace stop signs at four-way intersections. They are typically used in residential neighborhoods to slow traffic speeds and reduce accidents, but are typically not designed to accommodate larger vehicles. Many drivers often turn left in front of the circles rather than turning around them.”

    “How do I turn left at a traffic circle?

    State Law does not distinguish between a traffic circle and a larger roundabout. Consequently, a driver turning left at a neighborhood traffic circle must proceed counterclockwise around the traffic circle. However, we recognize that there are instances when drivers may need to turn left before a traffic circle, such as when cars park too closely to the right side of a circle or when a driver can’t maneuver a larger vehicle around to the right. Turning left in front of a traffic circle in those instances can be safely performed if the driver exercises reasonable care and yields to pedestrians, bicyclists, and oncoming traffic.”

    I’d say they are both a bit misleading.

    I don’t understand people who point out something they feel is wrong by doing something ten times worse. Nuts!



    It’s good to be wreckless.



    I love pointing people to this little gem provided to us by the folks down at the Seattle Times. Especially pay attention to situation #2:



    Wow! For someone who hasn’t had a car for years, thus rarely drives anymore, I’m a “Great Driver”! 4 out of 5!





    Sweet! I got 5 out of 5.

    But now I’m thoroughly confused on the traffic circles. Some say legal and others say illegal…WTF?



    What bugs me about that test is that it says the option to “go all the way around to the right” when making a left turn in a traffic circle is wrong. It’s not wrong–it’s the most correct way to handle a traffic circle. That doesn’t mean it’s incorrect to go immediately to the left when safe, but it’s absolutely never incorrect to always go to the right.



    Sarah, here’s a funny one for you and I wish a cop was there to explain to me who was wrong…LOL.

    I live down by Sanislo Elem. One day I was heading south on 18th and came to a traffic circle by the school. I had a minivan tailgating me the whole time. Anyways, as I approached the traffic circle, I turn my left blinker on. Now coming south on 18th to this traffic circle, I feel is unsafe to make the immediate left. You can’t see left or right do to obstructions on the corners, let alone see oncoming cars as they come up a hill. So, with my blinker on for a left turn, I use the counterclockwise method to this traffic circle. However, crazy minivan guy behind me, decides he’s going to take the left immediately. Now I find myself staring at minivan man’s tail lights as he speeds away from me. Two cars, turning left at a traffic circle…at the same time, who’s in the right? Or left? Oh, I quit…LOL.



    That reminds me of one evening that the husband and I were bicycling to the grocery store–a car came up behind us as we were approaching a traffic circle, and went around it to the left in order to pass us.

    We caught up with him at the next stoplight. I hope the three or so seconds he gained in performing that maneuver were worth it.

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