Roundabout rules, testing needed to improve road safetyApril 3, 2013
KITCHENER – The government could take a serious step toward improving road safety in Waterloo Region and across Ontario by creating consistent rules for roundabouts and requiring drivers to successfully enter and exit these intersections during road tests, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said today.
“To maintain driver safety, we need to ensure province-wide traffic laws are in place for all areas, including roundabouts. Whether it’s in Ottawa or Hamilton or Waterloo Region, drivers should be able to apply the same rules of the road when manoeuvring through these intersections,” Harris said in Kitchener today at Homer Watson Boulevard and Block Line Road, one of the busiest roundabouts in the Region of Waterloo.
Harris tabled his private member’s bill, the Safe Roundabouts Act, on March 28, as a way to fill the gaps in provincial legislation. Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act currently doesn’t include a section specifically dealing with roundabouts. The resulting ambiguity has led to inconsistent guidelines between the province and Waterloo Region, most notably, on signalling and yielding to pedestrians waiting at the curb.
“We simply can’t afford to maintain the status quo anymore. There are now nearly 40 roundabouts in Waterloo Region and plenty more slated to be built, including 11 on Franklin Boulevard in Cambridge. It’s time for us to move forward on ensuring driver safety right across Ontario.”
Following up on a request made last year, Harris also called on the Minister of Transportation to include roundabout testing on the G2 and G road exams.
“The rising number of collisions and the resulting increase in public anxiety clearly demonstrates the need to take action,” Harris said. “A critical component of making our roads safer starts with creating clear guidelines. But we also need to ensure drivers are properly trained. That’s why I have recommended that further information on roundabouts be added to the Driver’s Handbook and that drivers be required to enter and exit these intersections on their road tests.”
CAA South Central Ontario supports both the Safe Roundabouts Act and Harris’s call for roundabout testing. “Ensuring that there is proper education, consistent rules and that motorists are properly prepared to drive on Ontario’s roads all play a crucial role in preventing collisions and maintaining safety,” CAA spokesman Elliott Silverstein said.