The Burlington Free Press today bottom page 1 headline said a woman was shot and killed in St. Albans. The story inside told of an incident at busy signalized intersection at Lower Newton Road and Main Street where the victim turning north on Main Street was almost hit by a car driving north on Main Street reported as running a red light. The woman then followed the offender about four hundred yards, apparently accosted the driver, they both got out of the car and after some words he shot her several times and she died at the local hospital.
This was not midnight incident--it happened in daylight during the afternoon drive time, about 5:30 p.m. The weather was fair and sunny, a beautiful early fall afternoon.
The newspaper report termed it a "road rage" incident, but the truth is a roundabout at the intersection would have avoided this fatality--it was clearly a case of a "signal rage" killing. The fatality will never show up on the highway fatality list--as did the death of a young father crossing on a crosswalk some years before and being hit and killed while with his young son. Both the victim and the alleged shooter yesterday were relatively young adults. A highway fatality is rated by the Federal Highway Administration as a $6.1 million in total social costs (1999 dollars).
Roundabouts are a traffic calming treatment, but as a slow speed intersection it creates a social interaction between users--the positive kind of social interactions not the rage and killing kind.
So when the question of whether to roundabout or not to roundabout, keep in mind the kind of killing that takes place at signals, the kind that never gets reported in the road fatality reports.