Sprinkle Road Roundabout Makes Dubious Top Ten List
Good news, bad news. The Sprinkle Road at I-94 Roundabout made a ten list, but it's a list of roundabouts with the most crashes.
MichiganAutoLaw.com, a website for a legal group, compiles these kind of figures (for obvious reasons) and nine of the ten entries are from the Metro Detroit area, all except number five. M-DOT's crown jewel in Kalamazoo County is smack dab in the middle of the list.
According to the statistics compiled from the Michigan State Police, in 2019, the Sprinkle at 94 roundabout had 71 crashes and two injuries. That's a 31% increase from the 54 car accidents that occurred there in 2018. Also note, that figure is less than half of the crash of the #4 ranked intersection, State Street at Ellsworth Road in Ann Arbor. which had 154 crashes with 8 reported injuries. The worst intersection is in Sterling Heights, where 18-1/2 Mile Road at Van Dyke had 229 crashes with 14 injuries.
The M-DOT argument for roundabouts is they keep traffic moving, and because traffic is moving slower, any crashes are less severe and dangerous.
MichiganAutoLaw counters with:
Reality sometimes works out differently than theory. In fact, on our list of Michigan’s Most Dangerous Intersections in 2019, four of the top five intersections with the most car accidents were in Michigan roundabouts. Thousands of drivers are filled with anxiety and confusion when approaching this unique traffic design, and as the statistics of reported car crashes shows, they have good reason to be anxious. - MichiganAutoLaw.com
Okay, "thousand of drivers...filled with anxiety and confusion" smacks of hyperbole, but unless a driver is familiar with an intersection, that first few times can be tricky. Many drivers have become familiar with the Sprinkle Road Roundabout, but the other two (Gull Street and Solon Street) can be more difficult to navigate. The one near WMU's campus is confusing, partly because a driver doesn't have time to process the arrows quckly enough, and your author here almost had a car run into mine at the Gull Street roundabout, even though that intersection seems relative simple.
At the same time, Sprinkle Rd. at I-94 has been the most dangerous (for crashes) intersection in Kalamazoo County now for two straight years, but still, only two injuries last year.