In last week’s column I wrote about a segment recently aired on “Mythbusters” — the Discovery channel program dedicated to busting or proving common myths and conceptions — about the efficiency of roundabouts.
After testing, timing and evaluating final results, the hosts of the popular program concluded roundabouts were 20 percent more efficient at moving traffic than four-way-stop intersections.
I wrote about the results because roundabouts are becoming more common in Michigan, especially in Oakland County, which has more than 20 of them.
But just because they’re more common doesn’t mean they’re more popular. Here’s what some readers had to say about the traffic circles and the “Mythbusters” segment:
“Let’s be frank: The people who hate roundabouts are poor drivers (to put it nicely). They are the same people who brake when approaching green lights, who stand waiting for the green light to make a right turn, even when there is no cross traffic.
“They drive below the speed limit, often in the left lane, and generally annoy drivers who are in a hurry to get somewhere. They have difficulty parking their cars.
“If these people would someday have to drive in Europe, they would get killed!” — Milos Cihelka, Bloomfield Hills
“The (‘Mythbusters’) experiment does not simulate the intersections with traffic lights and variable traffic volumes (including rush hours) that the roundabouts replaced. Nor pedestrians trying to cross ... nor the many people who are not educated or experienced in driving roundabouts.
“Go to the roundabout at 14 Mile and Drake Road ... and you will see a driver and pedestrian nightmare ... at 15 and Farmington you will see cars speeding through wanting to go straight, crossing various lanes and creating accidents or close calls.
“One cannot ever educate the entire population on roundabouts ... they are not safer to me ... Are we guinea pigs?” — Nicholas J. Nagrant, Farmington Hills (Detroit News subscriber since 1968)
“Thanks for relaying the roundabout study ... I’ve heard of many but that one is certainly unique. It is very true that roundabouts improve traffic flow, but American vehicles (and American civil engineers) are not ready for them everywhere.
“I have a full-size pickup but some roundabouts are so small that it is impossible for me to enter without encroaching on another lane. One more point: Have you ever tried to navigate a roundabout on a bicycle, or walking your dog?” — Christopher Bliss, Warren
“The problem with the Michigan roundabout is the Michigan driver ... too many aggressive drivers that want to get through the yield sign as circulating traffic meets that drivers intersection.
“And getting from one circular lane to another lane could be a problem in heavy traffic for the impatient Michigan driver. In theory this concept seems viable but in Michigan ... it’s every man for himself ... when you include drugs, booze and digital devices, the problem escalates.” — Allen Kovacs, South Lyon
“Roundabouts are OK if it is just a one lane. But if it’s two or more lanes it gets dangerous when you are on the outside lane but people on the inside lane want to exit the roundabout.
“At rush hour I avoid them ... when there is a multi-lane figure eight roundabout.” — Arden Kibler, Goodrich