Senior Constable Mark Woitowitz of the Gympie District Traffic Branch at the five-way roundabout that connects Mary, Monkland and Reef streets with River Road.
Senior Constable Mark Woitowitz of the Gympie District Traffic Branch at the five-way roundabout that connects Mary, Monkland and Reef streets with River Road. Renee Pilcher

Confusion on Gympie roundabouts

NAVIGATING a roundabout can be tricky for motorists and pedestrians, especially in Gympie, road safety expert Graham Smith said.

The associate fellow of the Australasian College of Road Safety said many drivers were unsure of the correct way to use a roundabout and in Gympie there was added confusion.

“Here’s where the uncertainty comes in for Gympie motorists. Roundabout rules were made for crossroad intersections and the two main roundabouts in town are five-way intersections,” Mr Smith said.

“Technically you don’t have to put on an indicator if you’re going straight through a roundabout, but in Gympie, this could mean a number of directions.

“If you strictly carry out the law in Gympie, it does not convey the correct message to other motorists.”

Mr Smith said it was important to indicate left before exiting a roundabout, however, with the intersections being so close in Gympie, the period of indication was not sufficient enough to convey the message.

“If we develop a culture of using the roundabouts in a certain way, (local) motorists will get used to it. Like the one at the top of Mary Street – technically we are not required to indicate if driving straight through to Caledonian Hill but most people indicate as a courtesy to drivers entering from Mellor Street.”

Officer in charge of Gympie District Traffic Branch Senior Constable Chris Watson said there were three schools of thought when it came to navigating a roundabout — some drivers stuck to the old road rules, others followed the new rules and the rest had no idea at all.

He said one of the original rules for a roundabout was to indicate right for any direction other than the first exit on the left, but amendments to the law were made in 1999.

“The law has changed... traffic flow was partly the reason. Now if you’re going straight ahead you’re not required by law to indicate, it’s a courtesy to do so.

“The thing is, if drivers don’t have the time to indicate, it might mean they’re driving through a roundabout too fast. If they slowed down it would make it safer for everyone, including pedestrians.”

Mr Smith said in the 25 years he had been teaching people to drive, he had always instructed learner drivers to indicate left before the exit they wanted to take. Here he gives a few tips:

  •  Slow down as you approach a roundabout and give way to vehicles already on the roundabout, as well as vehicles entering from your right.
  •  Drive clockwise around the roundabout and indicate prior to entering if going left or right.
  •  As a courtesy, always indicate left before the exit you want to take and after passing the last.
  •  Keep an eye out for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists.
Gympie Times


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