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Orange, we need to talk roundabouts ...

January 6, 2022

Down to one lane, the roundabout on the corner of Byng Street and Lords Place. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes

If Orange and Cabonne road safety officer Andrea Hamilton-Vaughan had the budget, she would run an education campaign to try and teach drivers how to handle roundabouts.

How to approach them.

How to drive around and through them.

Orange and Cabonne road safety officer Andrea Hamilton-Vaughan. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

And why it's important that you stay in your own lane.

Like many in the city and its surrounds, she is baffled by what seems to be a complete lack of understanding by many drivers.

They speed up when coming to the roundabout, when they should slow down.

They drift in and out of their lane when approaching and exiting the roundabout, and sometimes can't stay in their lane as they go around.

Some days it's so bad you assume it's a full moon.

But it is not.

It's just another day of teeth-clenching close shaves in Orange, particularly for those negotiating the two-lane roundabouts on the corner of Hill and Summer streets, and Byng Street and Lords Place.

"Two-lane roundabouts are a problem in Orange because people don't use them correctly," said Hamilton-Vaughan, who has been the road safety officer for 16 years.

"But because we don’t have enough crashes at roundabouts that result in injury, I can't get funding to do an education campaign on it."

Essentially, limited funding goes where it's most needed, and that is for campaigns targeting elements such as speeding and being properly rested.

Roundabout education is not at the top of the list, as endless near-misses might cause people's blood to boil, but they don't kill them.

And although Hamilton-Vaughan points out that there are fatalities on roundabouts, particularly for passengers T-boned by a truck or larger vehicle, they are more typically home to bingles and close shaves.

She said impatience was a key element.

"People are speeding up so they can get through the roundabout before anyone else - it's as if their whole life depended on it."

With a peak hour of sorts developing in parts of the city in the lead-up to 9am and briefly after 5pm, Hamilton-Vaughan said people were rushing unnecessarily to get to work or get home.

"I come from Melbourne - you want traffic, go to Melbourne, go to Sydney."

She said the decision to change the roundabout near the council chambers on the corner of Byng Street and Lords Place had made the area "much safer".

"I know people are moaning, but ... people do not stay in their lane," she said.


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