Opinion: Little roundabout courtesy would go a long way

AMAZING: Carol Oliver says the behaviour of some motorists using the town's new roundabout "raises many questions about mankind". Picture: Dylan Burns
AMAZING: Carol Oliver says the behaviour of some motorists using the town's new roundabout "raises many questions about mankind". Picture: Dylan Burns

The new roundabout in Daylesford at the intersection of Midland Highway, Daylesford-Trentham Road and East Street is a wonder to behold – and even better to use.

At one point, there was clearly a design challenge exposed by a truck that ran over the wet cement edging of the inner circle because it couldn’t get round. Bingo … the centre circle was moved and we have an unusual off-centre feature that solved the problem. Hoorah for the engineer(s). Despite the never-ending waiting for lights to change during construction, what seemed slow at the start ended with a bang as a team of blokes planted the features that will grow to soften the look. All well done.

Questions remain though why this project staggered along in a Daylesford winter. Its as if they hadn’t been told about our weather. On many days, workers turned up for work and left soon after because, I assume, that their suffering was too great. Mine would be too, if I had to work outside in that weather. Seemed like very odd planning to me.

Whatever, it’s been worth it and it is nice to know that the possibility of bingles has been reduced. I also like the painted wagon wheel around one side. On a dull day, it’s quite exciting to be guided around in that extravagant way. A couple of days ago I was driving out of town toward the Trentham Road in a line of cars and, despite all the good work of the roundabout, was nearly hit by an idiot.

Please note that as you approach the roundabout, there are thick double lines and some prominent markings. DO NOT CROSS. What did someone do? Braking hard, I was nearly rear ended because a car stopped and unexpectedly before crossing the double lines. It ran over the no-go area and, moving onto the wrong side of the road, travelled down a bit and turned right into the hardware store. All because he/she didn’t want to go around the roundabout! It was scary, because it was so unexpected. Being the world’s most boring whinger, I went to the police station the next day so that they could maybe contact the roads people to erect an upright no-go sign as well.

This small incident raises many questions about mankind. I listen to and watch the news and see people living in or fleeing human and natural disaster. Though they tell me the world is safer overall than its ever been, we all know that that doesn’t apply to all people or places.

Much of human suffering is beyond belief, beyond my imagination and all many of us can do is to donate to something like Médecins Sans Frontières Australia as I do. World suffering puts our self-centred behaviour into sharp focus.

Why do motorists break the law for their own convenience? Why do tourists walk five abreast down the street? Why do people run behind reversing cars in the supermarket carpark? Why do some CEOs think they are worth so much more than the guy who prevents a health disaster by collecting the rubbish? 

I know for sure that most people treat life and other people with respect and – especially in the country – kindness and consideration, so I am very proud to live here. But the fact is that many people seem to act as if the truly do believe that they are the centre of the universe. Clearly, this view puts a bubble around their crap behaviour.

It’s infuriating, because we have so many advantages and opportunities that should lead us to be more humane, respectful, good humoured and generous.

And on that note I will end with a question that I will keep asking for ever. Who is taking an overall view of the way the building in our town develops? Why are entrances and exits dominated by large buildings that block the view that might be shared by everyone.

The amount of development around the roundabout blocks views of Wombat Hill, and no doubt it will extend unless something is done. It used to be a beautiful entrance and it’s beyond belief that council is allowing this type of development to welcome visitors to beautiful Daylesford. Did I say self-centred? I think I did.