While driving into town on Florida Road, I’ve noticed something peculiar. More than a few eastbound drivers at the Chapman Hill roundabout will turn on their left turn blinker as they enter the roundabout, presumably to show they will turn up Riverview Drive. What’s the deal? Are we supposed to use turn signals in roundabouts? I’m confused. – Going in Circles.
Rule No. 1: Roundabouts aren’t hard to figure out. Rule No. 2: Don’t drive fast.
These are the two “hard-and-fast rules” regarding roundabouts.
OK, that was pretty lame. But there is an overarching principle governing every roundabout everywhere: The driver inside the roundabout has the right-of-way.
This was gladly confirmed by our pal Lt. Ray Shupe of the Durango Police Department. “That’s correct. Traffic coming into the roundabout must yield to the cars already in the roundabout.”
Let Action Line reiterate two important words: must. yield.
So all you tardy inbound anger-management types can get over it. Yes, you have to stop to let fellow drivers turn up Riverview, and yes, you have to slow down.
And now Action Line will direct a testy tut-tut toward people heading up Florida who inexplicably switch on their left turn signal as they enter the roundabout.
Three words here: knock. it. off.
You have your left signal on to make a right-hand turn.
Instead of doing a favor for other drivers, your blinker befuddlement causes confusion.
Remember, when you are in the roundabout, you rule the world. You have total right of way. There is no reason to be “nice” by inventing a new driving protocol.
Only when you pass the inbound lane of Florida should you use your turn signal, and at this point, it will be your right turn signal as you turn right up Riverview.
Chalk another one up to Durango.
We are the only town in the world where nobody uses their turn signals when they should, yet they turn them on ad-lib where they shouldn’t – and then use a left blinker to indicate an eventual right turn.
We should change the name of 32nd Street to Memory Lane, as last week’s column on the 25-mph speed limit brought many submissions to the Mea Culpa Mailbag.
In that column Action Line recalled a child being hit as one of the reason for the lower speed limit.
Our friend Danial Ciluffo remembers. “When I was a kid (in the ’80s) Jessica Harmon was hit by a drunken driver outside her house around 31st and East 5th Avenue. She was about 6 years old. She survived and made it through high school.”
Loyal reader and all-around wonderful person Karen Bell provides some additional perspective.
“I recall that the residents of 32nd Street and the feeder streets were troubled by excessive speeders, and Lynn Shine, who was on the City Council at the time, lived in the neighborhood and was an advocate for the lower speed limit,” Karen writes.
Karen notes that Lynn and her husband, Tom, had previously lived in the Crestview area and suffered the loss of a child who was stuck by a car near their home.
Lower speed limits “also came at the time when the Kroeger Ranch, off East Animas Road (County Road 250), was in the development stage. The city feared that traffic would get much worse on 32nd,” she adds.
Thanks to Bob Pfeiffer and Gigi Baty for writing in and confirming much of the above.
And finally, the irrepressible Marta Bergen offers an alternative justification for the 25-mph limit on 32nd Street.
“Watch out for those seniors darting out into traffic near Sunshine Gardens! They’re maniacs!”
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you make three ‘victory laps’ in the roundabout sometime just for the heck of it.