Around town in a roundaboutsort of way

Stephan Wolfart, Somerset West

A reader’s complaint refers, regarding traffic circles and drivers not treating them correctly (“Going round in circle”, Bolander, November 22).

With the intro-duction of so-called “mini circles” there has been even more confusion about how to use traffic circles the right way.

I am one of these drivers that has been shown the middle finger more than once… for apparently (?) not doing the right thing then.

And I always thought I did… But unfortunately, it is not as easy and straight- forward as the woman from East London put it.

Having read her letter, I had a good look around and, in actual fact, most traffic circles do not have signage that suggests whether you’re approaching a roundabout or a mini circle.

So, it remains up to your own judgemental skill to decide what kind of situation you’re in, and apply the rules accordingly.

And that’s where the problem lies, because South Africa is a country where too many drivers think they have the right to be first at all times.

Having said that, more confusion is fuelled by poor signage, if there is any.

I have found traffic circles with contradictory signage as well.

One example would be Steynsrust bridge. Approach the circle from one side, the sign tells you it’s a traffic circle.

Approach from the other side, and all of a sudden it’s a mini circle.

Instead of pointing fingers at drivers, it would be more appropriate to challenge the authorities to get their house in order.

Finally, what’s the point of having mini circles? In most cases, there is enough space available for proper roundabouts that, as opposed to mini circles, do provide advantages over good old four-way-stops.

But, unfortunately, they are there and have to be dealt with.

Derek Rimell,
Somerset West

I refer to Jeremy Seigel’s letter on this subject and thank him for bringing to the attention of all and sundry the correct interpretation of the manner in which these circles should be addressed.

Being a daily road user, which includes traversing several of these circles, I can only surmise that the vast majority of drivers consider the circles to be treated in the fashion of giving away to the traffic approaching from the right.

T o change this perception will entail numerous fender benders of two cars both assuming the right of way, or alternatively following vehicle hitting the car in front for stopping without warning.

I personally cannot understand if theses circles have to be treated as four way stops why they were introduced in the first place.

This is yet another example of rules being introduced which are of absolutely no value.