City offers tips on getting through roundabouts

The city of San Diego has launched an online and public outreach campaign aimed at educating motorists about how to drive safely through Bird Rock’s five roundabout traffic circles.

The four-step campaign is designated S.Y.L.K. which stands for:

  • S -
Slow down on the approach to the roundabout

  • Y -
Yield first to other motorists inside the roundabout and pedestrians in the crosswalk

  • L -
Look left and wait for a gap in traffic before entering

  • K -
Keep right and don’t stop inside the roundabout, then signal before exiting

The hope is motorists will remember S.Y.L.K whenever they approach the roundabouts - part of a communitywide, years-long, traffic-calming effort - and automatically remember what to do as they drive through them.

“Bird Rock is the only community in San Diego with five, single-lane roundabouts in a series,” noted Mike Arnold, project manager for the city of San Diego Right-of-way Design Division.

Darlene Smith of Hard Hat Communications, liaison between the city and Bird Rock, said the program has been planned since the start of the project.

“The hope with this campaign is that we can reach the entirety of San Diego, not just the few people who drive through them every day,” she said.

Bird Rock Community Council president Joe La Cava said he has received complaints from people unfamiliar with how to properly use the roundabouts.

“The complaints really center more on other drivers who don’t understand the roundabouts,” he said. “They either come up to a yield sign and just stop, unsure when to move forward, or they’re oblivious to yield signs and drive through as if it was an open intersection.”

As part of the new public outreach campaign, the city has created a Web site,


“People love to walk around Bird Rock so we made sure S.Y.L.K. reminds pedestrians they should always cross at the designated crosswalks,” said Gary Chui, city of San Diego project manager. “Pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings too at all times when crossing the street, even though they do have the right-of-way.”