CARMEL, Ind. — Carmel may boast the largest number of roundabouts in the country, but now the city's mayor wants to change how you drive through them.
The yellow signs near roundabouts say 15 mph, but it's merely a suggestion. Speeding tickets are enforced by the speed of the road you're driving on. In other words, if you drive 30 mph through the roundabout on a road rated to 30 mph, then police cannot ticket you for speeding.
“We’d like to standardize how we drive through the roundabouts,” said Carmel City Engineer Jeremy Cashman. “With increased speed comes an increased severity of accidents.”
Mayor Jim Brainard wants to make the 15 mph speed limit enforceable. He believes it will reduce accidents even further. He says the city already has a driving fatality rate that is 14% below the national average.
“We haven't found any who are lower yet," Mayor Brainard said. "We have found some that are close to us.”
Some drivers say the roundabouts can be nerve-racking, especially for people who are new to the area. The added speed only makes the issues worse.
“Sometimes you know, you have that anticipation, you are going to go, and you're like that car is going really fast,” said Angela Gonzales who moved to Carmel from California three months ago. "My friend is visiting me right now, so she gets car sick, she was like slow down a little bit [in all the roundabouts].”
"Harrowing, absolutely harrowing," Kyle Bush said of his first time in the roundabouts after moving to the city from Illinois. "Not having any clue what lane to be in. A lot of honking, a lot of learning, and I'm a slow learner. I didn't realize [15 mph] was a suggestion, I thought it was the speed limit through the roundabout.”
The proposal will also give pedestrians more power in a roundabout crosswalk. They will be able to initiate a stop simply by stepping into the road. It will give them the right of way.
“By law today, if you’re a pedestrian, you can’t step out into the cross walk to make someone yield at you," Cashman said.
“I'm seeing pedestrians, and they are waiting there, and it's very dangerous," Gonzales said.
“My rule is I'm not crossing at a roundabout," laughed Bush.
The proposal is expected to hit the Carmel City Council floor on October 7.