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#136106 - 03/13/03 08:38 AM Fun: Keep it simple...
C-H Offline


Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Found this on the net. Driving in the UK can't be easy...


Until September 1972, there was only one Magic Roundabout and it was a children's television programme featuring Dougal the dog, a hippy rabbit called Dylan and the spring-loaded Zebedee.

Then a revolutionary idea (in more ways than one) which had been tested in Colchester, Essex, was also tested on Swindon's County Ground Roundabout. Until then the area had been a motorist's nightmare which routinely failed to handle the volume of traffic which converged on it from five directions.

The new roundabout (see picture) was the work of the Road Research Laboratory (RRL) and their solution was brilliantly simple. All they did was combine two roundabouts in one - the first the conventional, clockwise variety and the second, which revolved inside the first, sending traffic anti-clockwise.

They called it a multi-mini roundabout, but as far as Swindon folk was concerned, they now had their very own Magic Roundabout.

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#136107 - 03/13/03 10:27 AM Re: Fun: Keep it simple...
j a harrison Offline

Registered: 05/22/02
Posts: 112
Loc: southampton, england
C H,

As an electrician on the south coast of england,

I have had the pleasure??? of having to drive thru that.......engineers nightmare a few times to get to a couple of our sites in swindon,
it is not pleasant and not easy!!!

John H

By the way, on a personal note, i think the person who decided it had to be built this way should be made to drive around it on a daily basis during rush hour, and then tell us it works.

John H

#136108 - 03/13/03 11:26 AM Re: Fun: Keep it simple...
Texas_Ranger Offline

Registered: 12/17/01
Posts: 2343
Loc: Vienna, Austria
Makes me think of the story (probably an UL) of the drivers license novice who drove around a roundabout for ten full minutes. Then he decided it would be fun if they went backwards instead. A drunk driver didn't notice them and crashed into the car. Police investigated both parties and found the drunk guilty. One of the policemen came to the novice, laughing his a** off about the "great excuse" the drunk had just told them - he found the thought of somebody driving backwards incredible. For the sober guy this thing never had any consequences.

#136109 - 03/13/03 11:41 AM Re: Fun: Keep it simple...
SvenNYC Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1685
Loc: New York City
Did the drunk rear-end the novice's car? If so then he automatically was the guilty least that's how they always treat it it seems.

I've gone round-and-round on's kind of cool....when it's in the middle of the night and there's nobody else around.

Did the same thing once in this suburban parking lot of a super-market - weaving between the rows of parked cars at around 25 or 30 Km/h.

You won't catch me doing that backwards though!!!!

#136110 - 03/13/03 05:02 PM Re: Fun: Keep it simple...
txsparky Offline

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 578
Loc: Magnolia,.Texas U.S.A.
During rush hour they probably have to post a few patrol cars and ambulances there!!

I hope the electrical engineers there do a better job than the roadway engineers.

#136111 - 03/14/03 09:47 AM Re: Fun: Keep it simple...
Texas_Ranger Offline

Registered: 12/17/01
Posts: 2343
Loc: Vienna, Austria
Yes, he hit the rear end. I have no idea about the laws (Going to take the drivers license this summer).
Anyway, this was how I heard the story from a classmate.

#136112 - 03/14/03 12:55 PM Re: Fun: Keep it simple...
j a harrison Offline

Registered: 05/22/02
Posts: 112
Loc: southampton, england
T X,
there is an ambulance station about 300meters away,

also a police station, about a mile away,

and also a lcal fire station also about half a mile away!!!

Now you and me are thinking the same thing, they dont trust it do they, well i cant stand going thru it at any time of the day.

and yes are electricians do a better job than the town planners!!! (some of us anyway as we over hear dont have to have a license to ply our trade, which as a qualified and experienced electrican dont agree with)

John H

#136113 - 03/14/03 10:56 PM Re: Fun: Keep it simple...
frenchelectrican Offline


Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 938
Loc: Wi/ Paris France { France for ...
wow that is a challange to drive compare what i deal with it in paris oh wow that will give me new challange to drive there some day i will find out about how i like it but i am familaur with both usa and france driving laws and traffic set up but uk (england) is diffrent but i will be willing to challange it someday

merci marc
Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

#136114 - 03/15/03 02:30 AM Re: Fun: Keep it simple...
pauluk Offline

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Aaarrggghhhh! Why is it that British planners seem to love their "roundabout" junctions?

I remember running into the Colchester version of this horrible arrangement some years ago. It was the first time I'd been back to the town since I was a kid, and also the first time I'd ever come across such a convoluted, confusing intersection.

Even without this unnecessarily complex layout, roundabouts (traffic circles) are used far too much here. We have big ones, small ones, and now it seems that the "mini-roundabout" is appearing everywhere. There's a small junction near here with two adjacent mini-roundabouts, and there's often confusion over which vehicle is heading where and who has right-of-way. (For those of you who don't know what I mean by "mini-roundabout", I'll try to get a picture over the weekend.)

I've never driven in Paris (from what I've heard, that's a good thing! ), but in small town and rural France I've found that the road layouts are much better than here.

The only thing about France that really had me concentrating hard was the "priorité a droite" rule. It's very disorienting for someone used to driving in the U.K. or U.S.A. to be going along a main street and have to stop for a car emerging from some small turning on the right. I'm glad that the priority on French roundabouts has been changed though!

P.S. I wonder if they named that confusing mess "The Magic Roundabout" because by the time you've found your way around it, it's "Time for bed!"

( Link for non-Brits who have no idea what I'm talking about! )

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 03-15-2003).]

#136115 - 03/15/03 05:40 AM Re: Fun: Keep it simple...
iwire Offline

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
We have "Roundabouts" here in Massachusetts we call them "Rotary's" but I have never seen one like the one pictured.

I like them as I usually have the biggest vehicle and that means I get the right of way (not the law but how it works in practice).
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

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