Throttle Therapy looks at roundabouts: It’s enough to make you dizzy.

Navigating roundabouts sounds easy in theory but get more complicated in practice. Throttle therapy takes a spin from a biker's perspective.

Britt Santowski has been riding since she was 25

Britt Santowski has been riding since she was 25

According to the BC’s Ministry of Transportation information website, it’s a simple four-step process: You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out ….

Oh, no wait, that’s mama-mode, not motorcycle-mama mode. It actually goes like this:

  1. Approach
  2. Yield
  3. Enter
  4. Exit

They even have an “All About Roundabouts” video, showing you that you only have to use your signal lights when you exit the circle.

In the first video, DriveWise instructor Seann Wells says, “I don’t have to signal because I have no choice but to go right. But I will signal at my exit.”

Technically, he’s correct. You don’t have to signal in because it is akin to a curve in the road and you have no choice but to travel in that direction.

Wells smoothly enters the traffic circle and then executes a right hand exit, with appropriate signalling.

What’s missing from this clip is the conversion of what used to be a simple left-hand turn.

Let’s travel back in time to the simple four-way intersection. Executing a left-hand turn was pretty straight forward: Signal left to  turn left (duh), and remember to yield to the vehicle on your right.

Things get complicated when you plunk in another circular road over what used to be a standard four-way stop. Technically the vehicle operator is now executing a series of left- and right-hand turns to do what used to be a single-operation right turn, straight through, or left turn. To complicate things further, you now have to yield to the vehicle on your left (the ones coming at you), as the vehicles in the circle have the right-of-way.

When I am in a traffic circle, I signal through each “intersection” — defined as a point where roadways meet. In other words, at every possible entry and exit point, I either signal left (to enter, or continue in the traffic circle) or right (to exit).

Why?

Because as a motorcyclist, one of the most important things you MUST do to ensure your safety is to be precise when it comes to signalling your intention.

Sloppy signalling, as many accidents and near accidents testify, will be to your detriment. Precise signalling, whether mechanical or physical, helps communicate your intention.

A shoulder check, for example, communicates an intention depending on when you use it. When in motion, it typically signals a lane-change; when at a stop, it typically signals “I’m going to make sure the intersection is safe before I move off.”

Flashing your brake-lights, another example, communicates to a tailgater that they are too close for your comfort; or, it forewarns the vehicle behind you that your intention is to stop when that yellow light turns red.

On the flip side, signalling left on the Pat Bay just leaving Victoria, when your intent is to exit in Sidney, will in all likelihood get you into an accident.

I, for one, give a happy nod to the ministry for bringing in traffic circles. These circles really do eliminate those fatal-for-motorcyclists T-bone crashes, and they blessedly keep traffic moving. Traffic circles are a thing of great beauty.

Now all we need to do is to retrain our brain when it comes to navigating these former simple intersections that once required only one signal. They are no longer simple intersections and should not be treated as such. They are a separate roadway, where you signal in and signal out.

Yes, a roundabout is simple — and even beautiful — once you rewire your brain. And until then, It’s enough to make you dizzy.

 

Just Posted

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

A section of proposed Harbourfront Walkway between White Eagle Terrace and Battersea Road. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s proposed walkway extension project estimated at $25-30 million

City asking for feedback on concepts to connect Departure Bay Beach and ferry terminal

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read