Wednesday, 23 November 2005

Round and Round the Roundabout

Sign 0011 Originally uploaded by ektopia.

Britain’s obsession with roundabouts is really quite funny. I never knew that it was this obsession that was also imported into Malaysia when they ruled over Malaya until a Singaporean ex-colleague pointed it out to me. And I never knew Malaysia has quite of a lot of roundabouts ourselves. Near to where my house in in PJ, we just had one abolished to make way for newer more advanced method of road system- the traffic light junctions. Also, the “world’s smallest roundabout” is about a KM away from my house.

Roundabout Originally uploaded by embleton.

According to wikipedia, the first actual modern roundabout was constructed in New York City, United States in the early 20th century. However, the widespread use of roundabouts began when British engineers reengineered the traffic circle in the mid-1960s to overcome its limitations of capacity and for safety issues. I’ve seen so many of them everywhere here in London.

Yesterday I boarded the bus to go to the Retail Park. The double-decker bus I was on was overtook, albeit not according to the traffic rule, by a truck at the roundabout. This is a busy 6-exits, traffic-light-controlled roundabout. And because of the amount of exits there are, the distance between each exit is a short distance, thereby limiting the driver’s ability to get into lane fast enough, especially if you are driving a big vehicle. The truck came very close to scratching the right side of the bus where I was sitting. But apparently, at the front, the truck has managed to knock the driver’s side-view mirror. And instead of only getting upset at the truck driver and implode, the bus driver decided to overtake the truck driver at the next traffic light (still within the roundabout), and verbally threaten him that he (the bus driver) is not gonna let the other driver off for doing that. The lights changed and the bus driver, still obviously being commanded by road-rage, decided not to let this go.. No.. He maneuvered a little more to the left to try to block the right side of the truck now.. and release the brakes little by little and when the truck tried to move, it made a sickening scratch on the left side of the bus. Mind you, the exit door is on the left and yes, it’s blocked. It’s blocked and we cannot get out.

Columbus Crcle, New York Originally uploaded by Esthr.

(The roundabout looks abit like this, but a much smaller version)

Calling to report this accident, I can hear the driver of my bus “explaining” his side of the story. A fellow passenger decided to have a word with the driver, obviously not pleased that his journey is delayed. This passenger is polite and tried to tell him that he could’ve avoided this accident.. but the driver got mad at him instead. Anyway, cutting a long story short, we were let out via the back emergency door into the busy roundabout into a passing bus. A kind passenger held my hand to jump from the higher platform onto the hard tarmac (How do they expect the elderly to do this?), into the waiting bus. Well now, isn’t this a wonderful experience of a different kind? My short journey to Tesco is made more interesting at this roundabout thanks to a very short-tempered London bus driver.

More roundabout pictures...

This must be my favouritest roundabout in the world! A Sculpture by Pierre Vivant, 1998. (Canary Wharf). I was in the car on a nice summer evening going to the cinema and we passed by this most interesting sight! It looks like this.

The Traffic Light Tree Originally uploaded by Hector Loudon.

(Tsu Lin's favourite roundabout in London!)

And ever heard of a "Magic Roundabout"?

(The Magic Roundabout)

According to wikipedia, this "Magic Roundabout" (not to be confused with the children's television programme The Magic Roundabout) can be found in the town of Swindon in Wiltshire, England. This roundabout is made up of one large center roundabout and five smaller (mini) roundabouts around the center. Traffic can circulate clockwise or counter-clockwise around the main central roundabout, with the normal rule applying at each mini-roundabout within.

Similar systems are found in various places in England. Magic roundabouts are also known as "Ring Junctions".

1 comment:

Alan said...

Happened to press the 'next blog' button....

I totally liked your concept of roundabouts posting! I live a short distance to this traffic light tree.

As it also has pederstrian lights as part of the sculpture, I could only imagine the struggle of a confused pedestrian when confronted by this sculpture! LOL!


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