Sarasota leaders encourage caution, common sense when using new roundabouts

Surrounded by construction barrels, the roundabout on U.S 41 off 14th Street looks more like a maze.

"The circle can be a little scary," said Nick Matthyes, who has had a few close calls. "I really think people need a refresher on the rules," he said. 

Matthyes works at The Reserve, a restaurant and book store that is just a few feet away from one of the newest roundabouts in the city. He hears the horns honking every day. 

"Working here I’m just waiting for the day when I have to run out there and take action because of someone lying in the middle of the road because of something terrible happening," he said. 

There are three roundabouts under construction and a fourth one will be coming next year to this section of U.S 41 Sarasota police ask drivers to use caution and common sense when driving through them.

Sarasota Police Officer Jason Frank works with the Traffic Unit. He's seen it time after time. 

"Just because it’s clear you’re really only looking at one direction, you need to be cognizant. That yield sign is there because people inside the roundabout have the right away," Frank explained. 

That's why the city of Sarasota wants drivers to make sure they're yielding before they enter. 

"One of the challenges that we have is that US 41 had always been the dominant road, with the roundabout that changes it’s based on whose in the roundabout already," said City Engineer Alex Davis-Shaw. 

Roundabouts replace traffic signals. They allow traffic to keep flowing and reduce congestion. 

Officer Frank said navigating them safely is as simple as keeping your eyes open and slowing down. 

"If people were to be more observant of their surroundings they would see those speed limit signs and slow down and then it wouldn't be as dangerous for them to go into those roundabouts," said Frank. 

Click here for more information on how to navigate roundabouts.