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How to Use a Roundabout: Drive, Walk and Cycle Safely

Roundabouts in Action

One of the best ways to learn how to drive a roundabout is to see one in action - below are several examples of how to navigate your way through a roundabout.   

Watch another interactive example of a roundabout in action.

Interactive example of roundabouts in action

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How to Drive in a Roundabout

Using a roundabout is very similar to making a right turn from a stop sign or traffic light. At either of these, a right-turning driver stops at the stop bar, looks for conflicting traffic coming from the left, chooses an acceptable gap in the traffic flow, and then turns right onto the cross street.

At a roundabout, there are a few things that drivers need remember:

  • Yield: driver approaches the yield line, looks for conflicting traffic coming from the left.
  • Choose a lane: Find a gap in the traffic flow, and enter with a right turn at the yield sign using the appropriate lane. Observe posted signs or see “Which lane do I use?”.
  • Go slow: Once inside the roundabout, a driver continues circling counter-clockwise until exiting, never stopping within.
  • Exit: To leave a roundabout, you also manoeuvre to the right, remaining within your chosen lane.

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Which lane do I use?

Halton’s roundabouts will contain two lanes, an inner lane (left) and an outer lane (right). Although there will be signage posted that will help you decide what lane you should choose depending on where you’re headed, below are some general guidelines:

When do I choose the right lane?
Use the outer or right lane when you want to take the first exit point. You might want to go right or go straight depending on where you are and how many exit points are contained within the roundabout.

When do I choose the left lane?
Use the left hand lane when your exit point is more than one exit away. You might want to go straight, make a left hand turn or a U-turn depending on where you are and how many exit points the roundabout contains. Remember, you don’t have to leave this lane to exit, as you will manoeuvre to the right and exit onto a double lane road, remaining in the left lane.

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How do I signal and exit?

I want to take the first street on my right.
Signal to the right when approaching the right hand lane. Keep to the right, and continue signalling to the right to exit.

I want to continue straight through.
To do this, you must still veer to the right. Select the either the left or right lane, stay in this lane until you need to exit the roundabout. Remember, if you are in the left lane, check the right lane for vehicles before exiting.

I want to take the road to my left, do I still have to travel counter clockwise?
Yes. You must go with the flow of traffic, so signal left and approach the roundabout from the left hand lane. Keep to the left in the roundabout and signal right after you have passed the exit before the one you want and exit directly from the lane in which you are travelling.

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How do I walk through a roundabout?

  • Pay attention. Think. Be prepared to make decisions.
  • Step up to the curb and point your finger across the crosswalk to say to drivers that you intend to cross. Keep pointing until you reach the far side of the road.
  • Keep watching all the way across. As you cross a multi-lane roundabout, watch for a driver coming in the next lane. Make sure that the driver sees you.
  • Look and listen for a safe gap in the traffic flow before crossing. Do not start to cross if a vehicle is so close that the driver can not safely yield the crosswalk to you, or if a driver shows by the way that they are driving that they do not intend to stop for you.
  • Use the sidewalks and crosswalks around the outside of the roundabout. Do not cut across the centre island.
  • Use the splitter island, which is similar to a median. This will let you cross one direction of traffic at a time. Wait on the splitter island if needed.

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How do I cycle through a roundabout?

A cyclist has a number of choices at a roundabout. Your choice will depend on your degree of comfort riding in traffic.

For experienced cyclists:

  • Ride as if you were driving a car
  • Merge into the travel lane before the bike lane or shoulder ends
  • Ride in the middle of your lane; don't hug the curb
  • Watch out for drivers' blind spots

For less experienced cyclists:

  • Dismount and walk your bicycle
  • Follow the instructions for walking through the roundabout which are under the link to pedestrians

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