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OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Is it a roundabout? A traffic circle? How about Circle of Strife?

by Frank Fellone | January 22, 2022 at 3:23 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: I very much enjoyed your column regarding the state of affairs with traffic circles. It reminded me of one I encountered many years ago in Marrakech, five or six lanes covered up by autos, bicycles, donkeys pulling carts, camels and a few pedestrians. -- Dr. Steve

Dear Doc: You make us ashamed of feeling weird when going through a roundabout, traffic circle or even when parallel parking.

For the geographically impaired, Marrakech is a city in Morocco. It's also a song -- "Marrakesh Express" -- by Crosby, Stills & Nash.

No, we can't explain the difference in spelling.

Dear Mahatma: Visiting in Scotland years ago, a mission called me to London. Going from east of Edinburgh to the airport I had to navigate a six-lane traffic circle -- during rush hour. So kwitcherbellyakin. -- Sam I Am

Dear Sam: Ann Landers used to write it as kwitcherbitchin, but thanks for sharing.

We actually spoke on the phone once with Ann Landers, but are reluctant to reveal the content. Told it with the bark off, she did.

Dear Mahatma: Roundabout philosophy -- what doesn't kill you will make you get off the road. -- Karen

Dear Karen: As philosophies go, this is right up there with the golden mean, advocated by the ancient Greeks.

That is, to find the desirable middle between two extremes. Something to keep in mind regarding speed limits.

Dear Mahatma: No need to signal when entering a traffic circle, since there is no option except to turn right, as it is an abominable continuation of the straight road. Mankind created traffic signals to fight the congestion of European socialist influence. Little Rock has several things that it shouldn't. Twenty-one traffic circles are 22 too many. -- Larry

Dear Larry: European ideologies are not our field. Readers turn here for what we hope is common sense information on driving and traffic.

The Federal Highway Administration has studied the matter, and has determined that traffic circles can carry 30 to 50 percent more traffic than traditional intersections. Why? Because there are no red lights.

They are also safer. Why? Because there are no fools running those red lights.

Dear Mahatma: Try driving the 12 lanes around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Did that once for laughs when I took my Dad to the 60th anniversary of D-Day. -- Esteemed Attorney

Dear Esteemed: No, thanks. We will hire a taxi.

Where would we be without old friends and editors? We are urged to use "traffic circle" rather than "roundabout." Because the latter is English, and we ain't.

Reading reveals roundabouts are generally smaller than traffic circles, often with one lane. The Arc de Triomphe has a traffic circle; the way to the Little Rock Zoo features a roundabout. We will strive to make the distinction.

We are also alerted to misuse last week of amuck, when we meant amok. Our dictionary confirms amok is the preferred spelling. This gave us a feeling of discombobulation, but we have since recovered.

Print Headline: Circles are vicious, readers say


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