How to use a roundabout

The City has developed an animation and a short video to help pedestrians, cyclists and motorists use a roundabout.

Pedestrians

Roundabouts are often safer for pedestrians than intersections that use traffic signals. At a roundabout, a pedestrian only has to cross two sections of one-way traffic, which is moving at slow speeds. A pedestrian crossing at an intersection with signals must deal with vehicles turning right or left on green, and turning right on red. Some vehicles run the red light, which may result in injuries or fatalities for pedestrians.

At a roundabout:

  • Look and listen for approaching traffic. Choose a safe time to cross from the curb ramp to the median opening.
  • Walk on the sidewalk/path at all times.
  • Never cross the circular roadway to the central island.
  • Cross at the designated crosswalk.
  • Look in the direction of the oncoming traffic and wait for an acceptable gap before entering the crosswalk.
  • Proceed to the splitter island (median) and use as a refuge. Look in the direction of oncoming traffic and wait for an acceptable gap before crossing.

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Cyclists

Well-designed, low-speed, single-lane roundabouts should be easy for cyclists to use.

  1. Ride as if operating a motor vehicle — at the same speed. When riding in a bike lane or on the shoulder, merge into the travel lane before the bike lane shoulder ends. Obey the same driving instructions as vehicles. It is generally safest to claim the lane. Don't hug the curb, ride close to the middle of the lane and be cautious of drivers' blind spots.
     
  2. Dismount and use sidewalks and crosswalks. Some roundabouts have a ramp that leads to a shared bicycle–pedestrian path, which runs the perimeter of the roundabout. If there is no shared path, obey the signs, dismount and walk your bicycle.

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Motorists

  Motorists – Turning right or exiting at the first exit around the roundabout

Making a right turn

  1. Unless posted otherwise, use the right lane if there are multiple approach lanes and turn on the right-turn signal.
  2. Reduce your speed.
  3. Keep to the right of the splitter island.
  4. Allow cyclists to enter the roadway in front of you.
  5. Watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross. Be prepared to stop if a pedestrian is already in the crosswalk.
  6. Move up to the yield line and wait for an acceptable gap in traffic. Do not enter next to someone already in the roundabout, as that vehicle may be exiting at the next exit. (If another vehicle is stopped at the yield line, do not stop on the crosswalk. Keep the crosswalk clear for pedestrians).
  7. Enter the roundabout when there is an adequate gap in traffic within the circular roadway.
  8. Within the roundabout, do not stop except to avoid a collision; you have the right-of-way over entering traffic. Keep to the right of the central island and travel in a counter-clockwise direction.
  9. Do not overtake other vehicles and cyclists.
  10. Keep to the outside of the circulatory roadway within the roundabout and continue to use your right-turn signal as you exit. If there are multiple exit lanes, use the right-hand lane.
  11. Maintain your slow speed until you have passed the crosswalk. Watch for pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross and cyclists on the road as you exit.

Making a left or U-turn (exiting more than halfway around the roundabout)

  • Follow the same steps from 1 to i (see above).
  • When you have passed the last exit before the one you want, use your right-turn signal and continue to use your right-turn signal through your exit. Maintain a slow speed.
  • Watch for leading or adjacent vehicles on the outside (for multi-lane roundabouts) that continue to move around the roundabout.

Moving straight through 

  Motorists – Moving straight through

 
  • Follow the same steps from 1 to 9 (see above).
  • When you have passed the last exit before the one you want, use your right-turn signal and continue to use your right-turn signal through your exit. Maintain a slow speed.
  • Watch out for leading or adjacent vehicles on the outside (for multi-lane roundabouts) that continue to circulate around the roundabout.  

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Large vehicles

When approaching a roundabout, do not overtake large vehicles (trucks and buses) and give them plenty of room. They may have to swing wide on the approach or within the roundabout.

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Emergency vehicles

If you are in a roundabout when an emergency vehicle is approaching, proceed to beyond the splitter island of your exit before pulling over to the right and stopping. Do not stop in the roundabout. If you haven't entered the roundabout, wait until the vehicle has passed before entering.

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Driving a truck

You may need to use the full width of the road. Signal your intentions well in advance and make sure that other users are aware of you. Stay close to the left side of the entry. As you exit, again stay close to the left side of the exit. 

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Tips for two-lane roundabouts

Turning left

  • Be in the left lane and put on your left indicator as you enter the roundabout.
  • Stay in the left lane as you enter the roundabout.
  • Indicate a right turn as you approach your exit.
  • Stay in the left lane as you exit the roundabout.

Moving straight ahead

  • Be in either lane. You do not need to use an indicator to go straight ahead as you enter the roundabout.
  • Stay in the same lane as you enter the roundabout.
  • Indicate a right turn as you approach your exit.
  • Stay in your lane as you exit the roundabout.

Turning right

  • Be in the right lane and put on your right indicator as you enter the roundabout.
  • Stay in the right lane as you enter the roundabout.
  • Keep your right indicator on until you have exited the roundabout.
  • Stay in the right lane as you exit the roundabout.

Adapted from Federal Highway Administration, Roundabouts: An Informational Guide, Report No. FHWA -RD-00-067, June 2000.

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