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Should it be illegal to make a left turn before going around a traffic circle?

Asked at Southwind 12, 3433 Iowa on April 30, 2005

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Photo of Melissa Decelles

“Yeah. You never know when a car is coming. Sometimes it seems stupid, but we have laws for a reason.”

Photo of Wade Rush

“I think you should be able to turn left before the circle, but no with the large roundabouts.”

Photo of Viola Hamilton

“I think it should be illegal. You always go completely around the circle before you turn left.”

Photo of Tom West

“No. I turn left before the circle all the time. As long as there are no other cars coming, it should be fine.”


macon_II 12 years, 11 months ago

I think fangorn, the canadian, and ceallach should just email each other or call each other on the phone and have a good old-fashioned gabfest!! The constant back-and-forth posts between them here on this board makes absolutely no sense at all! After all, they sound so close and comfy with each other, that hey!, why shouldn't they seek other means of communication??

lunacydetector 12 years, 11 months ago

if the traffic circle is in a secluded and seldom used area and nobody is coming, sure, "why not?" actually thought it was already illegal, but perhaps i don't undertstand the question.

should it be illegal to make a left turn before going around a roundabout traffic circle? should it be illegal to make a right turn before going around a roundabout? should it be illegal to not use turn signals before going a round a round a roundabout traffic cirlce?

on another note regarding the Hybrid Car study...does the City of Lawrence REALLY keep their vehicles 10 years? I thought it was common practice for the employees to get a new car every 2 years.

i think they should use diesel engined cars. they are far cheaper than hybrids and they get close to the same kind of mileage. VW diesels get 40-50 mpg and the passat can drive 500 miles on one tank.

Ceallach 12 years, 11 months ago

macon_II -- or -- you could start your own blog and invite people to post so you would have the opportunity to criticize and malign them. There seems to be at least 2 macons with bad attitudes, perhaps you could start with each other.

I am amazed that some folks get so angry about people having a civil exchange on this board. They never seem to mind the cruel, or in some cases, down right psychotic posts. If that is what people feed on, THEY need to find another board, not us. It isn't as if your posting space is lessened by our back-and-forth posts. Just scroll on by.

macon, life is short, there are other choices you could be making that would make your life much more pleasant. Sarcasm unleashed on others is not one of them.

jonas 12 years, 11 months ago

Hell yes it should be illegal! If you don't whip all the way around the circle, how in the world do you think you're going to pick up any momentum?!?!?

By the way. . . how far before the traffic circle are we talking about? Immediately before? A block before? A mile before? More info please.

Fangorn: Saw Guide to the Galaxy, and it didn't suck as bad as I had feared, but it had little in common with the books. It was really funny when it did not deviate, though!

Richard Heckler 12 years, 11 months ago

We're making mountains out of mole hills.If there are no oncoming cars allow the left turn in front ....or do the full circle if there are cars coming. This is not rocket science. We could expect common sense to prevail. Slow down,take turns,be patient and go into these at a very slow speed. Allow emergency vehicles to do whatever is necessary as always.

Any responsible driver ought to have the patience and intelligence to make situations work and we all possess a bit of common sense. Anything that slows drivers is an accomplishments. Hiring more police officers is a far more expensive alternative. Perhaps making speeding violations even more expensive would likely have an affect on the long term.

Spending money to remove these devices does not make dollars or sense. Drivers all over the world seem to figure this out. Perhaps Lawrence could impose it's own ordinance such as the 2nd local speeding violation will cause suspension for sixty days.

ds9jullian 12 years, 11 months ago

What I want to know is why the heck they have stop signs on these traffic circles. I have driven around thousands of traffic circles in my life as I am from England but a stop sign on a traffic circle in a residential location. Sure they put traffic lights on some of the larger ones in Europe. Some one please tell me the difference bewteen a stop sign a traffic cirlce and what moron put a stop sign on a traffic circle.

lunacydetector 12 years, 11 months ago

i am 'again them' macon because they are expensive. i think the engineer lobby has too much power.

what would really slow people down is a traffic slalom. actually, they'd be fun to blow through holding my cig (with window cracked) while talking on my cell phone.

gccs14r 12 years, 11 months ago

I think most of you are missing the point that some of the circles are too small to accommodate even some personal vehicles if negotiated per statute. It's not just the fire trucks that can't go around them. Personally, I think they're a fad and will all be ripped out in ten years. It wouldn't be the first time a city spent a bunch of tax dollars on an engineering boondoggle that had to be removed later.

ms_canada 12 years, 11 months ago

My face is red! This topic has been discussed twice to my knowledge. On Jan 4 and Apr. 18. I commented each time and I think that a lot of you thought I was off my rocker. After seeing the picture of the traffic circles today in JW I realize that your t.c.'s are very much different than ours here in my city. Ours are like the ones in Britain and they are huge big things that are meant to slow traffic on multi-lane streets. You cannot make a left hand turn as in your small circles. You navigate the circle to the left, that is true, but to exit a circle you always make a right turn. They are like a huge wheel with the streets like spokes radiating out from the hub. Some circles have as many as 5 streets radiating out. Do you have any circles like that in Lawrence? So maybe you all think I am bonkers a lot of the time, but I had a reason on Jan. 4. If there was an article in the paper that day with a picture, I missed it, so was confused. I am not always confused, just some of the time. ha ha :) :)

merrywidow033 12 years, 11 months ago

my mother (from Boston) said to me the other day "they [turnabouts] don't work on the east coast, what makes people think they will work out in lawrence?" i agree. and people cutting left across them is insane. i've almost been hit on the one at Harvard and Monteray Way twice by big burling SUVs cutting left 'cos they can't expend the effort to finish the circle. bowhunter has an excellent point about the one-way streets.

ms_canada 12 years, 11 months ago

offtotheright - yeh, right, what the heck was I saying? I must have had another off moment and made another stupid comment. Forgiveness, is begged of you. (just trying to explain my past posts and should have kept my mouth shut as no one probably noticed my past posts, right?)

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

I turn left at the small ones, like the one pictured today or the one at 18th Street and Sweetwater, where in-coming traffic from any direction is clearly visible. But turning left on the larger ones, like the circle on Monterey Way, would be dangerous.

kns: There have been four traffic circle questions in the last year. But never let it be said that the topic of the question ever limited the topic of our discussion! I think we've debated them more often than that.

jonas: Although I'm jealous that you got to see Hitchhiker's Guide on opening night, I had a great time with my little girl at the father-daughter dance last night. And I'll get to see it soon. The radio drama of the book that BBC did about 20 years ago also had many departures. The book was so good (the whole series, really) that it would be difficult for a movie to match it.

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 11 months ago

The circle at 17th and Indiana is moronic!! It's hardly a traffic circle, more a thing in the middle of the intersection you just have to avoid. The one at 17th and NH is about silly, too. The one on O'Connell road and the one at 19th and Barker are far, far better. I thought going left in them was already illegal, but I can see why someone would completely ignore their ability to take a very easy left at 17th and Indiana.

12 years, 11 months ago

left at the circle.. i think it should be like somany traffic laws-- illegal, but if noone's looking who cares, right? at least thats the way i see many traffic laws treated..

to add to the diesel car discussion, i think its an excellent idea. from what i understand, most diesel cars (if not all of them) can also be run on biodiesel, which from what i understand, is relatively inexpensive to make (60 cents a gallon or so) after the initial cost of a machine to convert it, which costs about 3k or so. I'm completely paraphrasing, but its just something i read the other day, and if pressured i'll dig it back up and get the exact stats and a link if people are interested..

lunacydetector 12 years, 11 months ago

larryville, you hit the nail on the head! sorry i didn't respond 'til now.

ms_canada 12 years, 11 months ago

fangorn and ceallach - and any one else interested. Do you want to see a picture of my city? Here is a website that you can use. when you get the site click on festival information and then click on festival site map. then click on the blue eyes. and you will see various views of the festival site but also the views of the city in the down town area. We have a river that serpentines through the heart of our city and there is much greenery that lines the river banks and makes our city the greenest city in Canada. Let me know what you think of the city that I love. Edmonton, Alberta. And besides, we have the best folk festival in North America.

ms_canada 12 years, 11 months ago

So, macon47 - what the heck are you doing on this site? Are you not one of the cool folks? Sounds like you have been dipping into the fruit of the vine. We do have cities in the north. Did you click on the site? Did you see my city?

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

ms_canada: I looked at the link you gave. I also looked at Edmonton's city website. I didn't realize it was that big (nearly one million). The zoo looks nice, and it's interesting to see a city this size with a rail system. I have an odd question. I see Canada (or at least Alberta) observes Arbor Day, which was founded in my home state. But you observe it later than we do. Do you know why? I mapped a route from Lawrence to Edmonton. It's nearly a 1700-mile drive. Airfare from Kansas City is around US$500. I've never really thought about visiting Canada before. Perhaps when my children are a little older and would remember it better. . . .

ms_canada 12 years, 11 months ago

fangorn - I would love for you to visit Alberta and would welcome you in my home with your little ones and Janice. 1700 miles, wow. I figure it is a drive of 3 1/2 to 4 days. We have a lot of interesting things to see in Alberta. Banff in the mountains is a very beautiful place. Besides the mountains there are the hot springs and the lakes. And Calgary city has a lot to offer. There is the Stampede that a lot of people in north America come to take in. One thing that I love is the horse trials at a place called Spruce Meadows, just south of Calgary. It is show jumping. Magnifcent horses from all over the world in a most beautiful setting in gymkana type trials. And not just the horses. There is music, multiple eating opportunities and crafts. They have a web site. I sometimes think that people down south think that we all live in igloos and eat seal blubber and go to sleep when the sun sets. But we have vital lives here.
Enjoyable lives. So, when your little ones are ready, come north, why don't you.

ms_canada 12 years, 11 months ago

fangorn - no one seems to be online at this time, so here goes. Arbor Day. This year it will be celebrated on May 7. Every year the grade 1 children are given small evergreen trees to plant in their yard. I have 3. This year 14,000 seedlings will be given out. I believe that Arbor Day may be a later celebration than in you country, because of the northern clime. Our ground is still frozen long after yours has thawed. We have a tradition here. We plant our bedding plants, (annual flowers and tomatoes, cabbage etc.) out on the May long weekend. Victoria Day, the third weekend of May. (a celebration for Queen Victoria's birthday May 24) To plant before that, you risk frost damage to the tender seedlings. That could be the answer to your query. When do you celebrate Arbor Day?

Ceallach 12 years, 11 months ago

ms_canada: Just got in a short time ago. We have enjoyed a lovely day here in Lawrence. Started off cool (for the farmer's market) but warned up nicely. My daughter, granddaughter and I went shopping and to a few Garage Sales, then worked in the yard until almost dark. Feeling tired but satisfied with my accomplishments (we have started planting -- put in some Geraniums and moved about several areas of plants that had become overgrown.

Thank you for the link to the festival. What a lovely city, no wonder you love it so much.

Regarding the silly circles -- no one who has ever seen an actual traffic circle would have imagined anything similar to what we have in these little intersections. If they weren't so irritating they would be comical. Any child would have come up with a better design. Many of them are just concrete logs forming a misshaped little barrier with a sign in the middle. As I said most of them are laughable. In my opinion, our largest circles should be a city's smallest circles. I do not mind the larger ones, but those small ones -- well, you saw the image on the home page. They're quite pitiful looking :-)

Pay no mind to macon47, sounds like he may be cutting teeth, you know how peevish that can make a youngster.

I'm signing off to tonight. Here's wishing you and all our brothers and sisters a good night and a blessed Lord's day.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 11 months ago

Ceallach, The concrete "logs" are temporary. It may a matter of funding until permanent fixtures are installed. I do not have problems with any types however I believe roundabouts should be the order of the day as a matter of continuity for drivers.

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

ms_canada: Originally, Arbor Day was observed on April 22, the birthday of J. Sterling Morton who founded Arbor Day. (I wonder if this is why Earth Day is observed on this date?) Today, National Arbor Day is observed on the last Friday in April. But states (and provinces, presumably) observe it at different times. The best time for tree-planting seems like a reasonable cause for this.

kshaff03 12 years, 11 months ago

Traffic Circles: Get rid of them. They cause more accidents than they prevent. Absolutly stupid devices.

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