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Ask a Trooper: Explaining the circular world of roundabouts

By Troy Christianson

Question: I was hoping in a future column you could talk about safely navigating a roundabout.

Last fall, a roundabout was put in by our Elementary School. Since the start of the 20-21 school year, I’ve been using it 20 times per week dropping my kids off and picking them up.  I see many drivers stopping at the yield sign in order to let other drivers in the roundabout continue on their way.  It’s my understanding that when using a roundabout, you are to slow down and merge into the roundabout to continue on your way.  Could you please clarify how to safely and legally navigate a roundabout for your readers? Thank you. 

Answer: This is a good topic as we are seeing more roundabouts all over Minnesota. Here is some information to help everyone out.

Drivers

•Slow down when approaching a roundabout. For multi-lane roundabouts, as with any intersection, get into the appropriate lane.

•Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. It is the law.

• Yield to vehicles already in the roundabout. Merge into the traffic flow when it is safe.

•Continue through the roundabout until you reach your exit. Do not stop or pass in a roundabout.

•Exit the roundabout immediately if an emergency vehicle approaches, and then pull over. Do not stop in the roundabout.

•Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk when exiting the roundabout.

•Give large trucks extra space in a roundabout. Large trucks may straddle both lanes while driving through a multi-lane roundabout.

Pedestrians

•Cross only at crosswalks, and always stay on the designated walkways.

•Never cross to the central island.

•Cross the roundabout one approach at a time. Use the median island as a halfway point where you can check for approaching traffic.

Bicyclists

•Ride with traffic inside the roundabout or use the crosswalks appropriately.

•Follow the same rules as vehicles when riding with traffic and yield when entering the roundabout. Since traffic is slower inside the roundabout, cyclists should be able to travel at or near the same speed as motorists, staying in line with the circulating traffic.

Roundabouts are not complicated but can be confusing as it is something new. Sometimes it’s easier to learn by seeing it, then to read about it. Feel free to access this navigational video to help you. https://youtu.be/hsFAs9gEYNQ For additional information go to: https://www.dot.state.mn.us/roundabouts/index.html

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848.  (Or reach him at, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us)