Saturday, November 22, 2008

Roundabouts

On my way to and from one of my office locations, there's a newly constructed roundabout that I now pass through. It's so new that occasionally drivers in front of me seem to be confused about what to do so they slow down or even stop before entering. It's all I can do to keep from yelling, "Keep moving!" But I tell myself not to get too excited. After all, it's something new to them. They'll get the hang of it...eventually.

Yesterday I reviewed a geocache that was placed in a roundabout (the first geocache in an Iowa roundabout submitted to www.geocaching.com that I can recall). Since I had not come across this before, I had to do some research to find out how other reviewers are handling roundabout caches, and to find out if there are any applicable local traffic regulations about walking inside roundabouts. Some reviewers say they use the rule of thumb that if there does not appear to be any pedestrian walkway into the center portion of the roundabout, it would appear that pedestrians are not welcome in the center portion, and therefore neither are geocaches.

Think about it -- how distracting would it be to some drivers if they saw someone poking around in the bushes or rocks inside a roundabout when they're already trying to watch for merging vehicles while trying to find their exit? And it's not just me saying this. The Iowa DOT has a web site that gives advice about roundabouts. (I orignally wrote that previous sentence as "the IDOT gives roundabout advice" but that didn't sound quite right.) The IDOT says this: "Never walk though a roundabout or cross the center island."

Bottom line, unless you seek and obtain special permission for your specific geocache from the local governing municipality, I'm not going to publish geocaches that are placed inside roundabouts .

6 comments:

P.J. said...

Not too sure I'd ever want to put or retrieve a cache from a roundabout, but it's interesting to know how people who approve caches think. Glad I came across your blog and I'll be watching for more!

A 'lil HooHaa

Minyo said...

There is a cache hidden "under" a roundabout in Oskaloosa. GCPJ22 - Dizzy Devil. I won't say anymore ;)

welch said...

For those that haven't been there Dizzy Devil is on a hiking/biking trail that runs under the road. In the middle of the 'round a bout' theres a bench, flower beds, etc (and something else). very neat

cllecr said...

Some roundabouts do have sculptures with plaques and decorative items.... how are you to read these without going over to check them out? Perhaps a picture or note regarding the nature of the roundabout would be in order if you were wishing to submit a cache placed in such a location?

IowaAdmin said...

cllecr, while some roundabouts do seem to be designed for pedestrian traffic, there's still the issue of permission to place a geocache there, which is something that is required for all geocaches. If you as the cache owner feel a roundabout would not be a hazard to geocachers or to drivers, and if you are able to obtain permission for your geocache placement from the government in charge of the roundabout, then it's very likely that it can be approved, provided it complies with the other guidelines of geocaching.com. I hope this helps clarify the situation.

Sarah said...

I didn't even know you had roundabouts in the states - but then I've only been to 3 states, and Iowa is not amongst them - I thought they were a pecularly British invention :)

I live in Swindon, UK, home of the most notorious roundabout – or set of roundabouts – in Britain. It’s called the Magic Roundabout, and it’s positively famous :)

There is a multi placed around the various bits of the Magic, but the final cache is away from it, and the clues are accessible via standard pedestrian walkways. I live within walking distance of this multi and still haven’t done it, I’ll have to one day. I totally agree that a cache placed in the central island of a busy roundabout with no obvious pedestrian access would be very dangerous, not only for the distracted motorist but also for the pedestrian getting there.