The Kitty roundabout will soon be commissioned. Residents and visitors to Georgetown alike will be impressed with how it will look – but the real important question is whether it will properly serve its real purpose of efficiently managing traffic approaching it simultaneously from four different directions.
The thing about roundabouts is that they depend upon drivers using them sensibly. The thing about Guyanese drivers is that they generally do not drive sensibly. The Guyanese driver is always in a hurry, never gives way to anyone, and is fundamentally indisciplined. It may be that traffic lights will have to be installed, thereby bringing into question why a roundabout at all. It is not like there was an established structure there that had to be circumnavigated somehow!.
The basic principle for the use of roundabouts is ‘give way to traffic on the right; all vehicles are turning right until indicating to turn left to exit’. This is so very simple if all drivers are aware of it and have the discipline to adhere to the basic principle.
How does it work in practice? The driver arrives at the roundabout and looks to his/her right to see if any traffic is approaching. If traffic is approaching the driver stops and waits to allow the traffic to go by until an approaching vehicle indicates that it will be turning left to take the exit immediately before the entry road where the waiting driver is stopped. This is the cue for the waiting driver to proceed into the roundabout until he/she reaches his intended exit road whereupon he activates his left indicator and proceeds to exit. It is that simple!
A roundabout can demand extreme patience during peak hours if sited at a junction where there is heavy traffic proceeding in two or three directions. This is not the case at the site where the Kitty roundabout is located. There the traffic is either heading into the city in the morning or heading up the East Coast in the evening – meaning that the system can work very efficiently indeed if all drivers arriving at the roundabout exercise the necessary discipline, then are responsible enough to use their left indicator when in the roundabout and intending to exit. Drivers who take a bypass to the road they intend to join will need only to give way to any traffic approaching on their right, before proceeding into the intended road.
Let’s take for example one morning at 0800hrs. There are 20 cars travelling West from the East Coast approaching the roundabout at Vlissengen Road. Most will be intending to enter Vlissengen Road whilst the others will in the main be intending to enter Carifesta Avenue – because the majority approaching the roundabout from the West would be heading into the city. Only the odd one will be intending to head back up the East Coast.
At the same time, there will be probably five cars proceeding North on JB Singh Road intending to enter Rupert Craig Highway for the East Coast and three cars similarly proceeding North may be intending to enter Carifesta Avenue to head West. Another eight cars may be proceeding East from Carifesta Avenue – with five heading to the East Coast and three intending to turn into Vlissengen Road to head into Kitty or the city.
The reverse in terms of vehicle numbers would be the case at 1700hrs when the majority of the traffic will be heading up the East Coast. So long as the basic roundabout principle is applied by all drivers, including the minibus drivers, progress for all would be smooth and unproblematic.
Alas, however, a significant percentage of Guyanese drivers did not qualify for the drivers’ licences that they possess! The likely outcome of this shocking but real state of affairs could be numerous unnecessary but hopefully minor low-speed accidents in the splendid new Kitty roundabout.
Oct 15, 2018Eagles Basketball Club and Pacesetters played both matches contested on Saturday at the Burnham hard court in the Second and First Division of the Rainforest Water/Malta Supreme/Georgetown Amateur...
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