Roundabouts or Four-Way Stops – Which Are Better for Northern Colorado?
Over a year I ago I moved to Northern Colorado from Chicago. As many of the transplants from my hometown who live in this area can attest to, the Midwest and Illinois is knee deep in tradition. Crooked politicians, deep dish pizza, the Cubs and Steve Bartman… Heck, just listen to Frank Sinatra sing “Chicago” and you’ll get the picture. It’s all true.
What Frank didn't sing about was four way stop signs. That’s right… four way stop signs. Follow me... in the Midwest you pull up to the intersection, stop, wait your turn, smile and safely proceed. Easy…huh? It’s not that way out here… Sprinkled throughout this region are roundabouts. Honestly, I’ve never heard of, nor experienced, them.
How does this sound... you’re on your way to Thunder Mountain Harley (shameless client plug), you exit off of I-25 where you've been traveling at 75 mph. You've barely hit the brake when you first must decide which lane to get in, the local or roundabout. From that point on your head is on a swivel making sure that you’re in the exact right position, while traveling in a circle, to get off on the correct street. If you miss, you have to go around again. This maneuvering also requires trust in your fellow man that everyone will live by the roundabout rules and etiquette. For me, it's 10+ seconds of terror.
So what is the real difference between the two? Which one is more efficient?
Well leave it to one of my favorite shows The Mythbusters to get on the case. They did an in-depth, real-world test to find which method of getting through an intersection is more efficient…the four way stop or the roundabout. Before you watch the video…any guesses? Put your guess in the comment section below.