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Aug 27, 2021

5 min. read

A guide to Manitoba’s roundabouts and traffic circles

Manitoba introduced its first modern highway roundabout in 2018—at the intersection of PTH 2 and PTH 3 near Oak Bluff. And more are on the way, including one later this year at PR 213 and PR 206 north of Oakbank. The circles serve important purposes on provincial roadways: They dramatically reduce the number of fatal accidents, while also improving traffic flow. Here are some roundabout rules and tips for navigating them.

Small, Medium and Large

There are three types of roundabouts: traffic circles, traditional roundabouts and calming circles. In Manitoba, a multi-lane traffic circle is under consideration at the intersection of PTH 1 and 16. Roundabouts, on the other hand, are single-lane—as are the smaller calming circles, which have been introduced in place of four-way stops in residential areas.

Always Yield Upon Entry

All three types of circles operate on the same basic principle: The driver entering yields right of way to circulating traffic. After yielding at the sign, enter the roundabout when there is no traffic immediately approaching from the left. Once in the roundabout, watch for other cars entering ahead of you that may not have seen you coming.

Indicate Your Intent

The rules regarding left or right signals are applied equally to roundabouts as they are in other driving situations. When exiting to the left or right (compared with the direction you entered the roundabout), you must signal your intent. If you are essentially going straight, following the flow of the roadway in your lane, you do not need to signal.

Multi-lane Approach

Traffic circles are much larger than roundabouts, with two lanes going into, around and exiting the circle. As such, the rules of the road differ to those for a smaller roundabout. If you are turning right, enter the circle in the righthand lane. If you’re turning left, enter in the left-hand lane. If you plan to continue straight ahead, use either lane.

Lane-change Signals

In all cases, use turn signals to indicate your intent as you enter the traffic circle or change lanes within it, and the right-hand turn signal as you approach your exit. In a multilane traffic circle, drivers in the lefthand lane have priority over those outside them, so if you’re in the righthand lane, watch for cars inside moving across to exit the circle.

Pedestrians and Cyclists

As well as yielding to vehicles already circulating, be on the lookout for pedestrians and cyclists at all times when using a roundabout. Pedestrian crossings are typically stationed close to the entry and exit points, especially in residential areas. Cyclists may use the roundabout alongside vehicles in the absence of a dedicated bicycle lane.

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