Today’s Editorial for January 13: Confusion over roundabouts

Little did we know what furore we would cause with readers when we wrote an editorial about the need for education about how to use roundabouts for the 2 January edition of the Caymanian Compass.

We’ve received letters to the editor congratulating us for putting out the information in our editorial; letters telling us we were wrong about our facts; and letters chastising us for printing the letter that said we were wrong, because we were in fact right.

And now we have received another letter to the editor, this one from a police officer of more than 30 years, telling us we, and the teacher of a local driving school, were both wrong.

The big issue of contention seems to be which vehicle in two-lane or dual roundabout needs to give right-of-way or priority – the car in the inner lane or the car in the outer lane?

We, and driving teacher Graham Walker, author of the book Drive Safely in Cayman 2009, contend vehicles must always give way to their right.

It is permissible to go straight ahead through a two-lane roundabout, but if the exit off that roundabout is a single lane, the car in the left lane must give way to the car in the right – or inner lane.

We also both contend vehicles should not be travelling three quarters or more around a roundabout in the outside lane.

If we are wrong, so is the Cayman Islands National Roads Authority. The pamphlets and advertisements it has issued clearly support what we and Mr. Walker contend. The NRA also shows this on its website at www.caymanroads.com under Traffic Safety/Roadwise Campaign/Driving Around Roundabouts.

What has become abundantly clear out of the response to our editorial is the need to educate everyone – starting with the police – about how to travel through a roundabout. If veteran police officers aren’t on the same page as driving instructors and the National Roads Authority, how can anyone expect the public to be?

With more than a dozen roundabouts on Cayman’s roads, it is time ensure there is consistency among all of the various stakeholders – the police, the National Roads Authority and driving instructors – about how to use them. Once that aspect of the problem can be settled, the Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing should ensure all motorists getting a permanent or temporary Cayman Islands Driving License understand the rules concerning roundabouts.

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