BEND, OR -- A new study shows more than three-quarters of drivers in the northwest believe they properly navigate roundabouts and, "Nearly 1/3 of respondents, 31%, believe other drivers lack confidence in their own abilities to correctly drive through a roundabout, says Derek Wing, of PEMCO Insurance. The biggest mistakes they found: "Failing to properly yield, or perhaps taking a shortcut, or going through them the wrong way; possibly failing to use your turn signal when exiting, things of that sort."
Wing tells KBND News their poll also reveals the traffic circles are growing in popularity, "More than half of Northwest drivers, about 58%, do say that they favor ditching traditional intersections for roundabouts, but only 1/3 of respondents are still opposed to the idea." Wing says one reason for the continued opposition could be from lack of experience, "There are approximately 5,000 roundabouts in the entire United States, whereas there are about 30,000 roundabouts in a country like France. So, part of it may just come from the fact that people aren't really that used to roundabouts in the U.S."
But, Bend drivers certainly get lots of practice. The city's first roundabout was completed in 1999, and there are now more than 30, with several more planned or currently under construction. "PEMCO applauds the city of Bend, Oregon," says Wing, "Because we are strong proponents of roundabouts. In fact, we believe that roundabouts are the safer option to street lights or four-way stop signs, and ODOT agrees with us." Wing says O-Dot reports a 90 percent reduction in fatalities, as compared to traditional intersections.
Photo: Bend's Franklin & 9th roundabout