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Roundabouts

Learn about roundabouts in the City of Ottawa.  

What is a roundabout?

A modern roundabout is a circular intersection that does not have traffic signals. It is designed to maximize safety and minimize traffic delay.Key features of a roundabout

Key features

  • Central island: A raised area in the centre of a roundabout around which traffic circulates.
     
  • Splitter island: A raised or painted area on an approach used to separate entering from exiting traffic, deflect and slow entering traffic, and provide storage space for pedestrians crossing the road in two stages.
     
  • Circulatory roadway: A curved path used by vehicles to travel in a counter-clockwise direction around the central island.
     
  • Truck apron: If required on smaller roundabouts to accommodate the wheel tracking of large vehicles, an apron is the mountable portion of the central island adjacent to the circulatory roadway.
     
  • Yield line: Pavement marking used to mark the point of entry from an approach into the circulatory roadway; is generally marked along the inscribed circle. Entering vehicles must yield to any circulating traffic coming from the left before crossing this line into the circulatory roadway.
     
  • Pedestrian crossings: Set back from the yield line and the splitter island to allow pedestrians, wheelchairs, strollers and bicycles to pass through.

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

Traffic flow  

 This is a two-lane roundabout. A modern roundabout is a circular intersection without traffic signals that is designed to maximize safety and minimize traffic delay.

  • Low speed on approach
  • Approaching vehicles yield to traffic already in the roundabout
  • Vehicles drive counter-clockwise and always to the right of the central island
  • Low speed on exit
  • Continuous movement of traffic

 

Signs 

 Roundabout ahead. Reduce speed to 30 km/h

Roundabout ahead. Reduce speed to 30 km/h

 Exit locations in the roundabout

Exit locations in the roundabout

 Yield to traffic in the circle

Yield to traffic in the circle

 Indicates direction to follow in the roundabout

Indicates direction to follow in the roundabout

For more information on roundabouts, download Navigating Roundabouts [PDF – 432 KB] or e-mail 311@ottawa.ca.

How to use a roundabout

Starting in June 2016 Pedestrian Crossovers will be situated at warranted locations throughout the city, These locations will include most single lane roundabouts. At roundabouts where Pedestrian Crossovers are being installed, pedestrians will now have the right of way over vehicles. For more information on Pedestrian Crossovers, please refer to the Pedestrian Crossover website

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Navigating roundabouts

The City of Ottawa is installing more and more roundabouts. Roundabouts are actually pretty simple to use and, more importantly, safer than traditional intersections. Because navigating roundabouts is new to many residents of Ottawa, the following information will help steer you in the right direction. 

 

Car Turning Left

  • Yield to all traffic in all lanes of the roundabout. Do not enter beside a driver already in the roundabout.
  • Stay in the inner lane as you pass the first and second exits.
  • As you approach the third exit, signal right.

Car Turning Right

  • Signal right.
  • Yield to all traffic in all lanes of the roundabout. Do not enter beside a driver already in the roundabout.
  • Stay in the outer lane, signal right and exit at the first exit

Car Going Straight

  • These lane signs say that you can use either lane. Do not signal because you are going straight through.
  • Yield to all traffic in all lanes of the roundabout. Do not enter beside a driver already in the roundabout
  • Stay in the inner or outer lane as you pass the first exit.
  • As you approach the second exit, signal right.
  • Exit from the inner lane into the left lane or from the outer lane into the right lane.

Car Making A U-Turn

  • Signal left.
  • Yield to all traffic in all lanes of the roundabout. Do not enter beside a driver already in the roundabout.
  • Stay in the inner lane as you pass the first three exits.
  • As you approach the fourth exit, signal right.

Truck Turning Left

  • Straddle the entry lanes and signal left.
  • Yield to all traffic in all lanes of the roundabout. Do not enter beside a driver already in the roundabout.
  • Use both lanes in the roundabout as you pass the first and second exits. Do not try to keep to one lane so that other drivers can pass you.
  • As you approach the third exit, signal right.

Trucks Turning Right

  • Signal right.
  • Yield to all traffic in all lanes of the roundabout. Do not enter beside a driver already in the roundabout.
  • Signal right and exit at the first exit.

Truck Going Straight Through

  • Straddle the entry lanes. Do not signal because you are going straight through.
  • Yield to all traffic in all lanes of the roundabout. Do not enter beside a driver already in the roundabout.
  • Use both lanes in the roundabout as you pass the first exit. Do not try to keep to one lane so that other drivers can pass you.
  • As you approach the second exit, signal right.

Truck Making a U-Turn

  • Straddle the entry lanes and signal left.
  • Yield to all traffic in all lanes of the roundabout. Do not enter beside a driver already in the roundabout.
  • Use both lanes as you pass the first three exits. Do not try to keep to one lane so that other drivers can pass you.
  • As you approach the fourth exit, signal right.

Bicycle Driving Straight Through as a Vehicle

  • Start in the right lane.
  • Yield to all traffic in all lanes of the roundabout. Do not enter beside a driver already in the roundabout
  • Stay in the outer lane as you pass the first exit. Ride in the middle of the lane. Don't hug the curb.
  • As you approach the second exit, signal right.
  • Exit from the outer lane into the right lane.

Bicyclist as a Pedestrian

  • Use the ramp that leads to the sidewalk.
  • Dismount and walk your bicycle.

Pedestrian Crossing at a Roundabout

  • Use the sidewalks and crosswalks around the outside of the roundabout. Do not cut across the middle of the roundabout.
  • Point your finger across the crosswalk to say to drivers you intend to cross. Look and listen for a safe gap in traffic.
  • Step up to the curb. Look at the drivers. You decide when to step out and go.
  • Start to cross as soon as you are sure the driver intends to slow or stop to yield the crosswalk to you.
  • Watch for a driver coming in the next lane. Make sure that the driver sees you.
  • Keep watching all the way across.
  • Wait on the splitter island for a safe gap in traffic before crossing to the other side of the road.
  • Step up to the curb. Keep pointing your finger across the crosswalk to say to drivers that you intend to cross.

Emergency Vehicles

  • If you have not yet entered the roundabout, pull to the right and let the emergency vehicle pass you.
  • If you are already in the roundabout, do not stop in the roundabout because the emergency vehicle may not be able to get by you. Continue on and exit as normal.
  • Do not enter a roundabout when an emergency vehicle is approaching.
  • After you have exited the roundabout, pull to the right where there is room for the emergency vehicle to pass you.

Incorrect Roundabout Use

  • This driver should have yielded to the driver in the inner lane.
  • This driver should be in the inner lane to make a left turn.
  • This driver should have signalled right for the next exit.
  • This driver should have given the large truck more space.
  • This driver should have exited into the right lane.

Roundabouts in Ottawa

Roundabouts are located at the following locations within the city of Ottawa:

 Jockvale Road and Exeter Drive/Tartan Drive

Jockvale Road and Exeter Drive/Tartan Drive

 Waterbridge Drive and Cresthaven Drive

Waterbridge Drive and Cresthaven Drive

 Cresthaven Drive and Fairpark Drive/Timberline Private

Cresthaven Drive and Fairpark Drive/Timberline Private

Sussex Drive and Rideau Gate 

Sussex Drive and Rideau Gate

Kilborn Drive and Lamira Street 

Kilborn Drive and Lamira Street

Other roundabouts can be found here

  • Jockvale Road and Fable Street/Weybridge Drive
  • Rockcliffe Parkway and Princess Avenue
  • Longfields Drive and Bill Leathem Drive
  • Huntmar Drive and Rosehill Avenue
  • Ruskin Street and Melrose Avenue
  • Brookfield Street and Flannery Drive
  • Bayview Road at Slidell Street
  • Jeanne d’Arc Boulevard at St. Joseph
  • Prince of Wales Drive at NCC Scenic Driveway
  • Berrigan Drive and Longfields Drive
  • Trim Road and Brian Coburn Boulevard
  • Stonehaven Drive and Bridgestone Drive/Steeple Chase Drive
  • Greenbank Road and Cambrian Road
  • Kanata Avenue and Keyrock Drive/Stikine Drive
  • Trim Road and Millenium Boulevard
  • Jockvale Road and Cambrian Road

Find out more about Ottawa’s first partial two-lane roundabout at Brookfield Road/Flannery Drive.

Find out more about Ottawa’s first full two-lane roundabout at St. Joseph/Jeanne d’Arc Boulevard.