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Traveling Maryland's Roundabouts - Usage

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How to Use a Roundabout

Click on the following links for how to use a roundabout while:

Driving a car


Turning right or exiting at the first exit around the roundabout:

Unless posted otherwise, use only the right–hand lane if there are multiple approach lanes. Use your right–turn signal.

  1. Reduce your speed.
  2. Keep to the right of the splitter island.
  3. Watch for bicyclists and allow them to enter the roadway in front of you.
  4. Watch for and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross.
  5. Move up to the yield line and wait for an acceptable gap in traffic. Do not enter next to someone already in the roundabout, as that vehicle may be exiting at the next exit.
  6. Within the roundabout, do not stop except to avoid a collision; you have the right–of–way over entering traffic. Always keep to the right of the central island and travel in a counterclockwise direction.
  7. Keep to the outside of the circulatory roadway within the roundabout and continue to use your right–turn signal through your exit.
  8. If there are multiple exit lanes, use the right–hand lane. Maintain a slow speed.
  9. Watch for and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross.
    [Back to driving a car]

Going straight ahead (i.e., exiting halfway around the roundabout):

  1. Unless posted otherwise, use either lane if there are two approach lanes. Do not use any turn signals on approach.
  2. Reduce your speed.
  3. Keep to the right of the splitter island.
  4. Watch for bicyclists and allow them to enter the roadway in front of you.
  5. Watch for and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross.
  6. Move up to the yield line and wait for an acceptable gap in traffic. Do not enter next to someone already in the roundabout, as that vehicle may be exiting at the next exit.
  7. Within the roundabout, do not stop except to avoid a collision; you have the right–of–way over entering traffic. Always keep to the right of the central island and travel in a counterclockwise direction.
  8. Maintain your position relative to other vehicles. Stay to the inside if you entered from the left lane, or stay to the outside if you entered from the right lane.
  9. Do not overtake other vehicles or bicyclists when in the roundabout.
  10. When you have passed the last exit before the one you want, use your right–turn signal and continue to use your right–turn signal through your exit. Maintain a slow speed.
  11. When exiting from the inside lane, watch out for leading or adjacent vehicles on the outside that continue to circulate around the roundabout.
  12. Watch for and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross.
    [Back to driving a car]

Turning left or making a U–turn (i.e., exiting more than halfway around the roundabout):

  1. Unless posted otherwise, use one of the left–hand lane if there are two approach lanes. Use your left–turn signal.
  2. Reduce your speed.
  3. Keep to the right of the splitter island.
  4. Watch for bicyclists and allow them to enter the roadway in front of you.
  5. Watch for and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross.
  6. Move up to the yield line and wait for an acceptable gap in traffic. Do not enter next to someone already in the roundabout, as that vehicle may be exiting at the next exit.
  7. Within the roundabout, do not stop except to avoid a collision; you have the right–of–way over entering traffic. Always keep to the right of the central island and travel in a counterclockwise direction.
  8. Maintain your position relative to other vehicles. Stay to the inside. Do not change lanes until you are ready to exit.
  9. Do not overtake other vehicles or bicyclists when in the roundabout.
  10. When you have passed the last exit before the one you want, use your right–turn signal and continue to use your right–turn signal through your exit. Maintain a slow speed.
  11. Watch out for leading or adjacent vehicles on the outside that continue to circulate around the roundabout.
  12. Watch for and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross.
    [Back to driving a car]

Large vehicles

When car drivers approach a roundabout, do not overtake large vehicles (trucks and buses). Large vehicles may have to swing wide on the approach or within the roundabout. Watch for their turn signals and give them plenty of room, especially since they may obscure other conflicting users.
[Back to driving a car]

Emergency vehicles

If you are in a roundabout when an emergency vehicle is approaching, proceed to beyond the splitter island of your exit before pulling over. If you haven't entered the roundabout yet, wait until the emergency vehicle has passed before entering. These steps will help to clear out the roundabout for the emergency vehicle.
[Back to driving a car]

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Driving a truck

To negotiate a roundabout in a truck, you may need to use the full width of the roadway, including mountable aprons if provided. Be mindful of the location of all other users of the roundabouts. Prior to entering the roundabout, you may need to occupy both lanes. Signal your intentions well in advance and satisfy yourself that other users are aware of you and are giving you consideration.
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Bicycling

Well–designed, low–speed, single–lane roundabouts should not present much difficulty to bicyclists. On the approach to the entry, signal your intentions and merge into traffic. It is generally safest for bicyclists to claim the lane. Keep in mind that drivers should be traveling at about 15 to 20 miles per hour, close to the speed you ride your bicycle.

Most roundabouts will give you three options:

  1. Ride like a car:  If you are comfortable riding in traffic, ride on the circulatory roadway of the roundabout like a car. Obey all of the same driving instructions as for cars. Watch out for vehicles crossing your path to leave or join the roundabout. Watch out for large vehicles on the roundabout as they need more space to maneuver.
  2. Walk like a pedestrian:  If you are uncomfortable riding in traffic and no special separate facility is provided, dismount and exit the approach lane before the splitter island on the approach, and move to the sidewalk. Once on the sidewalk, walk your bicycle like a pedestrian.
  3. Use a shared bicycle–pedestrian path:  Some roundabouts may have a ramp that leads to a widened sidewalk or a shared bicycle–pedestrian path that runs around the perimeter of the roundabout. Be courteous to pedestrians and yield to them.
    [Back to top]

Walking

In Maryland, pedestrians have the right–of–way within crosswalks at any intersections, including roundabouts. However, pedestrians must not suddenly leave a curb or other safe waiting place and walk into the path of a vehicle if it is so close that it is an immediate hazard.

  1. Walk around the perimeter of the roundabout. Do not cross the circulatory roadway to the central island.
  2. Use the crosswalks on the legs of the roundabout. If there is no crosswalk marked on a leg of the roundabout, cross the leg about one vehicle–length away from the circulatory roadway of the roundabout.
  3. Look and listen for approaching traffic. Choose a safe time to cross from the curb ramp to the median opening. Although you have the right–of–way, if approaching vehicles are present, it is best to first satisfy yourself that vehicles have recognized your presence and right to cross. When crossing an entry or exit with more than one lane, be sure that conflicting vehicles in adjacent lanes are coming to a complete stop before proceeding.
  4. Use the splitter island. It allows you to cross one direction of traffic at a time.
    [Back to top]

Adapted from: Federal Highway Administration, Roundabouts: An Informational Guide, Report No. FHWA–RD–00–067, June 2000.

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