It began with just one.
In a fitting juxtaposition it was built adjacent to the S.S. Klondike, the historic vessel that back in the day guaranteed the safe, reliable transfer of goods along our major travel route, the Yukon River.
Compared to that first roundabout, the sternwheeler was far less confusing and less prone to inducing unnecessary bouts of anxiety.
Load the goods, board the ship and voila… You’re off.
No signals to worry about.
No entering a circle of traffic.
No exiting, no yielding, no mid-circle braking.
“Do I enter now?”
“Do I exit then?”
“Wait, why is a pedestrian crossing here?!”
It’s enough to give a motorist a panic attack.
And that’s coming from someone who lives in Whitehorse.
Someone used to traffic lights and crosswalks and double lanes.
Imagine the trepidation the roundabout must give those coming in from the rural communities.
And the Yukon roundabout did not end with just one.
Alas when we finally mastered the S.S. Klondike road circle a second circle was put in at École Émilie Tremblay, this one even more confusing.
Not only was there the entering and exiting and yielding, but also a school zone complete with crossing guards, fluorescent safety vests and 30 kilometre per hour speed restrictions.
Well brace yourself Whitehorsians. We now have two more roundabouts to contend with (that’s if you don’t count the two the poor residents of Takhini North must attempt to navigate on a daily basis).
And like a SWAT team – or worse yet, a group of zombies – these latest roundabouts have us boxed in with little hope for escape.
One is in Riverdale, the other at the foot of Porter Creek near the entrance to the soon to be built Whistle Bend subdivision.
Well I’m here to say fear not, fair Yukoners. The roundabout, although daunting at first, is your friend. And by following a few simple rules, it’s actually quite easy to master.
GM’s Simple Steps to Mastering the Roundabout
Be confident. Like dogs, grizzly bears and parrots (don’t ask) the roundabout can sense fear.
Go in strong and enter when clear.
Do not signal when entering. I repeat, do not signal.
Once inside the roundabout there is no turning back.
If you have any doubts once in a circle of traffic, keep moving (think of Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s European Vacation).
There is just one way to go… right. Okay, you could go left but you wouldn’t. And if you would, perhaps you should not be on the road operating a motorized vehicle.
Let’s review: be confident, no signal, turn right.
Continue through the roundabout until you come to the area you want to exit.
I know you wanted to earlier, but that was wrong. Instead signal right; I repeat, right. Right now!
By signalling here, you are telling the driver waiting to enter that you are leaving after surviving another roundabout experience.
I know the roundabout is somewhat new, somewhat confusing and something most associate with Britain. But get used to them, because it appears they are here to stay and more and more are coming.