Crash numbers increase in new roundabout

Vehicles move through the roundabout at the intersection of Northland Avenue and Richmond Street in Appleton Sept. 1, 2017. (WLUK/Jerry Van Handel)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- The new Appleton roundabout at highways OO (Northland Avenue) and 47 (Richmond Street) has seen a steep increase over when the intersection had traditional stoplights.

The roundabout opened Sept. 1.

City and state authorities decided to install the roundabout to make the intersection safer. However, since it opened, crash numbers are through the roof.

"That's very surprising that there's more accidents in the roundabout. I haven't seen any, but I have seen quite a few back when the stoplights were in," remarked Justin Krueger of Combined Locks.

"I have to admit that I was a little bit shocked when I started to look at the number of crashes," added Appleton Police Sgt. Dave Lund.

According to the Appleton Police Department, there were 25 crash reports between Aug. 31 and Oct. 10 this year. That's compared to seven crashes during the same time in 2016 and two crashes in 2015.

"We've cited over 10 people for failure to yield," Lund told FOX 11 News.

However, Lund told us, there is a bit of a silver lining.

"None of the incidents were anybody reporting injuries and, in a number of, even, the reportable crashed, what we were seeing is that vehicles were still driveable," he explained.

Lund told FOX 11 a roundabout does not guarantee there won't be any crashes, but should ensure crashes that do happen are less serious.

"Fewer occurrences of severe injury, or less property damage," he said.

Lund told us the culprit behind the uptick in crashes is likely a lack of familiarity with this specific roundabout. He said people either pull in front of cars already in the roundabout too closely, or change lanes in the roundabout.

Lund advises patience.

"If you pay attention to the signage above the street that will tell you exactly which lane you need to be in," he said.

Drivers told us, for some, there is definitely a learning curve.

"I think it'll take awhile before they figure out how to use the roundabout," said Krueger.

To learn more about navigating roundabouts visit the DOT's website here.

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