The Louisiana State Police are working with a nonprofit traffic safety group to create a roundabout safety program to help improve traffic and reduce the number of accidents. The government will add more roundabouts to Louisiana streets and work with community groups to share proper techniques for using the new intersections.
Do Roundabouts Really Prevent Car Accidents?
Roundabouts are circular, one-way intersections that are designed to cut congestion and make high-traffic areas safer. According to the Federal Highway Administration, roundabouts are cheaper, more efficient and above all safer than more conventional intersections. The most comprehensive study to date on their effectiveness shows that roundabouts reduced the total number of traffic accidents by 35 percent, the number of injuries by 76 percent and the number of traffic fatalities by more than 90 percent.
How Do Roundabouts Affect Pedestrians and Cyclists?
Studies also show that these changes in urban planning can also help create a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists. Most roundabouts require drivers to slow down to a speed between 15 and 25 mph. The cars in a round-about are also only headed in one direction. This means that accidents with cyclists tend to be both rarer and less severe than with traditional intersections. Multi-lane roundabouts have less universally good results, but studies still show an improvement to typical intersections.
For pedestrians, a roundabout creates an island between two directions of traffic. This allows a person to cross one side of the road at a time. In areas with a large amount of continuous traffic this can make crossing the street both safer and more convenient.
Some traffic accidents are unfortunately an inevitable part of road transportation, but as a community it is our responsibility to do everything we can to make our streets as safe as they possibly can be. Hopefully new city planning ideas like additional roundabouts will make a difference and help save lives.