PEOPLE living by Britain’s most hated roundabout say nobody knows how to use it as it was designed by a madman.
Residents near the so-called ‘Magic Roundabout’ in Swindon, Wiltshire, claim that its layout is confusing and accidents are common.
Local chiropractor Sally Hobbs, 51, admitted that while she was “proud” of the roundabout, it did make driving more difficult.
She told The Sun Online: “People chance their arm a lot. I’ve been in one crash myself. It was with someone who doesn’t know how to use it.
“It’s a test of people’s driving ability.
“A lot of people struggle with giving way on the middle roundabout. People are put off by it and don’t like it at all.”
What makes the structure more complicated than a traditional roundabout is its unusual layout.
Each exit from the central roundabout comes with its own mini roundabout, meaning that motorists face two separate give-way systems at any one time.
Stef Van Eyndhofen, 49, was visiting Swindon from Oxfordshire when The Sun Online’s team were there and was scathing in his opinion.
He fumed: “What a mess this is. All my anger about the English roundabout is coming out.
“The person who designed this roundabout must have had clinical insanity.
“English people in general don’t know the rules of roundabouts. If you don’t know the rules of one, you should never put five together.”
Stef, who is originally from the Netherlands, added that people should be cycling instead of driving.
He said: “It’s incredibly confusing and dangerous, and should be forbidden on modern infrastructure. It’s not good for the human brain.
“The designer has lost his mind and should be sectioned.
“It’s prehistoric, people should be riding their bikes instead.”
Meanwhile, Wendy Lee, 77, who has lived in the area for more than 40 years, said that the roundabout has caused noise pollution and accidents.
She explained: “A painter was doing a job on a ladder for me one time and almost fell off because of the noise of the cars going past. I’m used to the noise after all this time.
“People get confused by it. My sister in law wouldn’t come to our house because of the magic roundabout.”
Wendy added that police cars stop in the area to try and catch speeding drivers, who she says she hears “charging down the road” and “tearing off” over the roundabout.
She continued: “We hear about accidents, and the reason is the cars go too fast. A lot of people don’t understand what way to go and don’t know what they’re doing.”
However, some residents did say that they don’t mind the roundabout and blamed “idiots” who don’t know how to use it for its reputation.
Gareth Puzey, 32, said: “People don’t know how to use it. I drive round it all the time, but I’m a native. You can spot nervous drivers who don’t know right of way.
“All you have to know is who’s on each side. It’s no more dangerous than any other roundabout.”
Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “The iconic Magic Roundabout has stood the test of time, celebrating its 50th birthday last year. We receive enquiries from all over the world asking us about the history of this unique landmark.
“In the past five years, there has been one serious injury collision, despite the roundabout being used daily by thousands of residents and visitors.”
The history of the Magic Roundabout
Swindon’s Magic Roundabout was designed by Frank Blackmore OBE, the inventor of the mini roundabout.
He was asked by Ray Harper, the local council’s Principle Traffic Engineer to help design an experimental new junction near the town.
They first tested the idea of the five-ring junction using a bus and stacks of tyres to mark out where the roundabouts were and getting people to drive through.
Ray told the BBC in 2014: “We tarmaced over the whole area.
“And when we’d got it all tarmaced, leaving the old roundabout in place with tyres, we were ready to start the experiment… this was in September 1971.
“On the old roundabout the saturation or the maximum amount of traffic you could get through the roundabout was 5,100 vehicles per hour.
“Using the five ring junction principle, with the five mini roundabouts that’s there now, gave a capacity of 6,200. So that’s the one we adopted.