Mixed Signals; Proposed Carmel ordinance may require turn signals on roundabouts


Rachael Tan

CAREFUL CONDUCTING: Sophomore Lucy Salter waits to make a left turn onto Main Street. Salter was in an accident in a roundabout last January.

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Slater’s car sustained some damage after the crash in the roundabout. Salter said she thinks turn signals would have helped prevent and incident such as this from happening.

The Carmel City Council is considering a new ordinance that would require Carmel drivers to use turn signals on roundabouts or face a fine of up to $100. The ordinance is currently in committee and the City Council will make its ultimate decision sometime in the coming months. If the ordinance passes at that time, Ronald Carter, City Council Member At-Large, said it will improve Carmel’s roundabouts. However, many people have questioned the benefits to this change.

Carter, as the ordinance’s sponsor, said he decided to support it because it will make roundabouts efficient.

“(The ordinance) is to help people get through roundabouts more easily, more comfortably and more efficiently,” Carter said.

Carter said many people are concerned that those who don’t live in the Carmel community will be unaware of the signaling regulations and face an unfair fine. However, he said that those who are concerned need not be.

“We have lots of ordinances that are peculiar to only one or maybe only two or three communities, so if we take that tack, then we should be saying, ‘Let’s just abolish all city and town councils and have the state legislature make all of our laws,’” Carter said.

On the other hand, Hal Espey, CIESC driver education instructor and former CHS teacher, said the ordinance could increase overall confusion.

“I have some trepidation about pulling out in front of somebody because they have their signal on when they’re a few feet away, thinking that they’re going to exit when they’re thinking something else,” Espey said.

Espey said he already teaches signaling in roundabouts in his driver education course. However, he said most students probably don’t signal after they pass the course.

“I’m going to guess that some of them don’t continue that technique, maybe including their parents. We may teach it, but it’s not necessarily reinforced, and I think if it’s required (by the ordinance), they would do it,” Espey said.

Sophomore Lucy Salter has a more personal reason to encourage students to signal in roundabouts.

Last January, Salter was in a car accident in a roundabout. Salter said the accident occurred because she was confused about where an oncoming car was planning to exit.

“Basically I was trying to go straight at a roundabout and someone else was trying to go left, and they just kind of cut me off,” Salter said. “It was a no-fault crash, so we both were confused. She wasn’t really from Carmel, so she wasn’t really familiar with the way our roundabouts worked, and I’m a new driver, so it was just both of our faults.”

Salter said she thinks signaling could have prevented the collision and said she is in favor of the ordinance.

“I think that many people that come from other states, when they come to Carmel, can be confused about roundabouts too, and I think that turn signals just kind of help clear things up,” she said.