Any time we talk about roundabouts in the Boise area, the debate on social media gets surprisingly heated. 

Some people love them and think that if you don’t know how to navigate one, you should have your license taken away. Others loathe them and question how necessary they really are. Personally? We just want to know whose bright idea it was to put FOUR of them within a .6 mile stretch of road in a fairly low-traffic area of Harris Ranch. 

More Roundabouts Planned for Both Ada and Canyon County

Image via Google Maps
Image via Google Maps

ACHD loves roundabouts because statistically, they improve safety, help traffic flow better, cut down on delays and help reduce car emissions because cars don’t have to stop and start when they reach them. They’re moving forward with designing more of them, including one at Amity and Locust Grove, slated for construction in 2025 and one currently under construction at Victory and Locust Grove

Nampa residents are about to encounter some traffic headaches near the Idaho Center because of roundabout construction. The City of Nampa is putting in a multi-lane roundabout at Idaho Center Boulevard and Cherry Lane which requires a full road. It was supposed to be complete by early fall, but it's very much STILL under construction.

Roundabouts are inevitable as the Treasure Valley tries to catch its infrastructure up to the explosive growth it's seen over the last few years so whether you love them or hate them, it’s time to embrace them. 

The Problem With Roundabouts Is...

Image via Google Maps
Image via Google Maps

Looking through public comments collected while designing several of the roundabouts projects, it seems like the main concern people have about them is the fact that people in Boise and its surrounding municipalities don’t know how to use them. That came up in the proposal for the Ten Mile and Lake Hazel roundabout. The Idaho Press published this comment in a story about 10 new Nampa roundabouts: 

Roundabouts are great but we really need some mandatory driving instruction refresher courses so people know how to use them!

So what seems to be the HARDEST concept for people to grasp about using roundabouts? According to a discussion on Reddit and in the comments section of our own Facebook account, the use of turn signals in a roundabout!  

Are You Required to Use Your Turn Signal When Entering or Exiting a Roundabout?

Image via Google Maps
Image via Google Maps

Ironically, the section of the Idaho Code describing when you’re required to use your turn signal was last amended in 2005, a year before the first roundabouts in Idaho were constructed. That was something the Fuller & Beck law firm in Idaho Falls pointed out while trying to get a client out of a DUI after they were pulled over for failing to signal as they entered a roundabout.

There is no legal definition of a roundabout in Idaho’s laws or guidance on how to use them. The closest guidance we have is in Idaho 49-808, which reads: 

A signal of intention to turn or move right or left when required shall be given continuously to warn other traffic. On controlled-access highways and before turning from a parked position, the signal shall be given continuously for not less than five (5) seconds and, in all other instances, for not less than the last one hundred (100) feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.

That guidance isn’t a slam dunk for a couple of reasons:

  • You technically shouldn’t be in a parked position while entering/exiting a roundabout
  • A roundabout isn’t a controlled-access highway
  • The roundabout’s circumference might be too small to give for you to follow that 100-foot guidance 

That said, the most recent edition of the Idaho Driver’s Handbook lists this as the final of the six steps to follow while driving a roundabout: 

As you approach your exit, turn your right turn signal on

Plus, it’s a nice thing to do so that the other drivers around you don’t have to guess when you’re going to leave the roundabout.

The driver's handbook does NOT mention turning on your signal while entering the roundabout.

KEEP READING: These Are the 10 Most Hated Roundabouts in the Boise Area

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

Most Dangerous Hour, Day and Month to Drive in Idaho

Assurance used National Traffic Highway Safety data to look at the riskiest times to be on the road in the Gem State. We jumped into ITD data to narrow it down even further to Ada and Canyon County.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

The Top 12 Most Frustrating Intersections in the Treasure Valley

If we were to compare ourselves to other major cities in the Pacific Northwest, Boise would look silly complaining about these sorts of things slowing down our commute by minutes. But, we're not Seattle. We're not Portland. These intersections are annoying and everyone knows it!

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

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