Fishers is believed to have the most dangerous roundabout in Hamilton County. If not the most dangerous, then the one that has had the most accidents.
This week a member of the Fishers Chatter Facebook group posted a video of a car cutting them off within the roundabout at 146th Street and Olio Road. This video lead to one of the biggest discussions this Facebook group and its 10,000+ members have had since its inception. Many people argued that the driver in the video was wrong in trying to move onto Olio Road from the left, inner lane while others including the original poster claimed the inner lane had the right-of-way to go onto Olio Road from the inner roundabout lane, and that it was the driver in the outer lane that should have turned onto Olio Road and not continued within the roundabout. While I didn’t count the number of people or post on each side of this disagreement, it did seem that there were hundreds of posts for both.
Within central Indiana, the intersection where you are most likely to get into an accident is Olio Road and Southeastern Parkway. According to data collected by the Indiana State Police the number of accidents from 2016 and 2017 combined put this intersection ahead of all others with 133 accidents. The second, third, and fourth places for msot dangerous intersections went to intersections on 116th Street all within Carmel.
Who is right?
While part of the issue could be people’s lack of understanding in how roundabouts work, it is more likely because the roundabout in discussion is not a standard four-way, two-lane roundabout. More to the issue, this roundabout includes an exception to how roundabouts normally appear to work.
First, this roundabout has five entrance points instead of four, with two of the roads at that location having an above average amount of traffic. Coming from the West and heading East, the Southeastern / Campus Parkway (146th Street) entrance to the roundabout is already confused by not only a double-diamond crossing over the interstate, but then there is an additional curved turn onto 136th Street just before the roundabout.
Once you get through all this, it is a matter of determining which lanes are appropriate depending on where you want to exit the roundabout. The previous picture shows the roads leading into and out of roundabout. The roundabout in question is the one in the lower right corner of the picture.
Some argue that you can’t turn out of a roundabout from the inside lane. If you watch instructions on using roundabouts or review BMV guidelines, you’ll see that this statement is not correct; however, the inside lane generally has to cross the outside line in order to exit. This is allowed and is generally what happens by many when entering and exiting a 4-way, two-lane roundabout intersections; Cars are simply go straight through using both lanes. Cars on the inside lane however, do not turn onto the first exit, but go straight through. Cars on the outside lane can go past the first exist and leave via the exit straight across from where they entered. If a car enters on the outside lane, they should not expect to go past the exit on the opposite side if in a standard 4-way intersection. There are plenty of videos online to explain the standard use in a four-way intersection.
Once you get to the roundabout at Olio and Southeastern, the standard four way intersection options options might still apply for much of the intersection. It is important to note, however, that those cars entering from Southeastern Parkway going East must be in the left lane if they want to go past Olio Road and continue on Southeastern. If they are in the right, outer lane, then they cannot go “straight through” the intersection, but must get off on 136th Street or Olio Road. This detail is likely what leads to the most accidents on this roundabout.
It’s All About the White Lines
There are those saying that this is wrong! For those saying you should be able to continue in either lane of Southeastern through the roundabout and exit on the corresponding lane leaving the roundabout onto Southeastern because that is how roundabouts work, you are incorrect. While you could still do this, the difference from standard roundabouts is that if you are on the outside (right) lane, you are the one that must yield to the inside lane if you plan to continue around the roundabout past the second exit. You, in the outside line, must yield because you are actually the one leaving your lane into a new lane rather. This is confirmed by looking at the white lines on the road.
If you look in the following picture, you’ll see the road is clearly marked with the white lines. The right, outer lane goes out of the roundabout onto Olio Road (south). The inner lane of the roundabout also has the option to go onto Olio Road. Additionally, the inner lane does not cross any white dashed or solid lines doing this, which means they should not have to yield as it is their right-of-way.
There is plenty of signage around this intersection and even paintings on the road. The following is painted on the road as you enter the roundabout:
As you can see, but many people don’t realize, the right lane is expected to turn off to the right on the next two exits (136th Street or Olio Road). The roundabout symbol is shown in the left lane, but is not shown on the right because the right lane doesn’t continue around it.
There are also the standard white arrow signs illustrating the same thing:
Ultimately, the way you navigate this intersection can be determined by the signs and the white lines on the road. Because, however, this intersection is not your standard roundabout, many people make assumptions. Those assumptions have helped Fishers gain the status of having the most dangerous intersection in Hamilton County. It has also caused many drivers to assume they were correct – when they were not. If you are on Southeastern heading east and plan to continue on Southeastern, then you need to shift to the left lane before you get to the roundabout. Technically, the right lane doesn’t continue to Southeastern.
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