Starkville has very few roundabouts, and it should stay that way. Adding more roundabouts in Starkville would simply require even more roadwork around the city.
Although roundabouts do have their benefits, there are definitely some drawbacks. Many of us who attend Mississippi State University did not come from cities or towns where roundabouts are a prominent part of traffic. So, on top of students having to learn their way around a new town, they would also have to learn new driving skills.
As reported by John Metcalfe from Bloomberg CityLab, studies show intersections replaced with roundabouts had a 38% decrease in fatal wrecks but a 12% increase in non-fatal wrecks, a consequence of "confused or unprepared drivers trying to navigate the unfamiliar roadway design."
While it is fantastic roundabouts help drop the percentage of fatal car crashes, non-fatal car wrecks still have their costs. Fixing one's car can be really expensive, and not all college students have the funds to deal with these avoidable expenses. Also, "non-fatal" does not necessarily mean there were no injuries, so health costs must be taken into consideration as well. In a college town, it is important to consider extra financial burdens which could be unnecessarily placed on students.
In addition to the potentially preventable fees roundabouts create for students, the safety of pedestrians and cyclists must also be considered when implementing roundabouts. Many students ride their bikes to campus, and it would be best for both the students as well as the university to make Starkville as safe as possible.
As stated by Steve Wallace from the Times Colonist, drivers at roundabouts tend to check only the left side and ignore any dangers to the right, which makes pedestrian crossing at roundabouts extremely difficult and dangerous. Not only will roundabouts affect the safety of day-to-day pedestrians but it will also affect the safety of pedestrians on game days and during other large events hosted by the university.
Ensuring the safety of the residents of Starkville, as well as those who visit, should be top priority. While pedestrians' safety is to be considered, cyclists' safety is also an important factor as they present even larger safety risks when it comes to roundabouts.
According to BrightHub Engineering, traffic rules for roundabouts in America deem vehicles in the innermost roundabout lane may turn right to exit, but this subsequently places any bicyclists following behind the car at an unexpected angle in the driver's blind spot. Because of the bicyclist's disadvantaged placement, cyclists are often one of the most afflicted victims in roundabouts.
Drivers already lack awareness of cyclists without roundabouts; it is not likely drivers will suddenly change this due to roundabouts being added. The safety of all who use the roads should be considered when making these decisions. It is important fatal car crashes decrease. However, that does not make roundabouts the perfect solution. Overall, the potential costs and safety problems presented by roundabouts indicate roundabouts are not the best solution for solving traffic issues.