It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I had been to Viera Regional Park to watch my grandson play Pop Warner Football in the first round of the playoffs. It was a good game, the kid played well and they won.
So far, so good.
And then came the return trip.
My radio listeners know my disdain for death circles, aka roundabouts, like Viera’s. They are poorly designed, misunderstood by many drivers on the road and already represent a potential danger because of it. Now we’ve added some extra dangers that make navigating the circle of death even more fun.
On this road, traffic was fluid and was not particularly heavy. It ended up being a good thing. I left the park, passed the avenue and prepared to enter the roundabout.
There was a bit of cross traffic but it was light and getting into the wheel of doom was not a problem. Traffic was smooth, but a watchful eye is still needed. Both lanes of traffic were full and we passed the first exit. There was no problem as everyone continued around the arch.
We then reached the second exit and headed towards Wickham Road where we would probably all be exiting, as continuing to our point of origin made no sense.
Then it happened.
Just as we passed the second exit both lanes came to a stop. We were at a standstill, a no-no if I understood my roundabouts correctly. Two cars, one in each lane, had seen fit to stop and visit the Circle of Death. It is not wise. Fortunately, none of the cars crashed, although there was a risk of multiple rear-end collisions.
But why did we stop? For most of us, it was to avoid hitting the car in front of us. But why did the two leading clowns stop? A quick glance made the reason obvious: idiocy.
There are design idiots, there are idiots behind the wheel and there are idiots who don’t drive. This case involved all three.
First of all, the design idiots. Whichever engineering school dropout who became a traffic engineer and designed this monstrosity decided not only to make it too small for the desired result, he then put a crosswalk in the traffic circle. point. A roadway designed to eliminate a traditional intersection with traffic lights, which would normally support the flow of traffic, was now a refuge for pedestrians.
As for the idiots who don’t drive, the people in the crosswalk weren’t pedestrians. They were pseudo-drivers in a golf cart. A motor vehicle, or even a bicycle, has no place in a crosswalk. But it is in Viera that reign the golf carts. Kids drive them to school (there’s another full-fledged column) and families drive them everywhere like they’re in The Villages or some other golf cart paradise.
It’s a potentially dangerous street, and sidewalks and crosswalks are for people.
And then there are the idiots behind the wheel. The pair of drivers at the front of those lanes decided that the golf cart going through the circle of death was more important than the traffic coming into the bend behind them not hitting them in the beehives. Fortunately, all of the drivers behind them were more attentive than some would have been.
It could have been a royal mess. Those drivers stopping for cross traffic by a vehicle in a roundabout, in a place where the golf cart is not active in the first place, are the third contributing factor to this mess.
It’s bad enough that we have roundabouts. Add in the golf carts, bad design and driver factors and we have a recipe for trouble.
Many of us were lucky that day.
Maybe next time I’ll take Viera Boulevard. I’ve heard that diverging diamonds are also great.
Bill Mick is Program Director and Host of “Bill Mick Live” on WMMB-AM. Learn more at billmick.com
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