New Zealand's most ignored roundabout may be in Manawatu
It's a roundabout that's so little and flat that most people just drive over it. Driving around this Manawatu roundabout is the exception.
The low, grey roundabout in the small Manawatu township of Bunnythorpe is clearly signposted as a roundabout from every direction. It doesn't seem to matter, though.
Bunnythorpe volunteer firefighter Wayne Spearpoint knows all too well just how often the roundabout is ignored. Early mornings were the worst, when traffic streamed in from Feilding toward Palmerston North, he said.
The flow of traffic that ignores it the most approached from Feilding and turned right at the roundabout to head toward Palmerston North.
* Blenheim drivers clueless, in a roundabout way, claims instructor
* Freight travelling through Palmerston North an 'absolute crisis'
* Sorting Bunnythorpe bottleneck
* Road change 'victory for democracy'
"You can understand new people who haven't been here before hesitating about what to do.
"But these are people who use it every day," Spearpoint said.
Spearpoint reckons it's only a matter of time before motorists ignoring the road rules cause a fatal crash.
The roundabout is right by a railway line and at the intersection of Campbell Rd, Kairanga Bunnythorpe Rd and Dixons Line.
During a half-hour, lunchtime observation, almost every vehicle went straight over the top, many wrongly assuming the right of way as well.
Spearpoint said it was hard to believe the drivers had a current licence.
"The solution is easy: You put a policeman there for a week and you educate and then you start handing out fines."
Central District highway patrol manager Senior Sergeant Kris Burbery said officers had mentioned the roundabout as an issue, but he was not aware of any crashes there.
Bunnythorpe locals have criticised the Palmerston North City Council for not doing anything to improve safety at the intersection.
Colin Smith, a resident of 72 years, said the roundabout was ridiculous.
"We've been going to councils about it for years and years."
Community trust spokeswoman Jean Thompson-Church said in a submission on the city council's proposed annual budget that promises had been made by council staff, but nothing had happened.
"Something must be implemented immediately," she said.
Former councillor Ross Linklater, who attended many community meetings in the village, confirmed staff had said there would be action, but it had not eventuated.
"It is a Clayton's roundabout," he said.
Linklater said in its position, the roundabout had to be low so large trucks with trailers could drive over it, as they did not have enough room to completely avoid it.
"But maybe it could be highly coloured and raised in the centre. There is potential to make it more obvious."
City council senior transportation engineer Glenn Connelly said something like that would be put in place next summer when the roads were scheduled to be resurfaced.
"We're looking at options for adding some height.
"In the short term, we'll trial some new road markings."
Connelly said the intersection was complex given the nearby railway crossing and because of the volume of heavy vehicles using it.
A better long-term solution would be considered in a bigger redevelopment of the road network from 2020 onwards, as part of implementing the regional growth strategy, Accelerate 25.
Connelly said there had been no serious-injury crashes in the vicinity of the roundabout since 2000 and the crash record was moderate.