So, why do English roads roll? Enclosures seem to be one answer - with the highway going out of its way to steer clear of individuals' private property. Then there were the hills that were too steep for stagecoaches, meaning that the road had to wriggle uphill at greater length, but a gentler gradient - something that became an issue only once horse-drawn traffic was the norm. I also like the idea that some road-kinks represent an attempt to sidestep a one-time obstacle (say, a Mighty Oak) that no longer exists, leaving the jink as a fossilized tribute.
Better than these British examples, though (and I take this from M.G. Lay's Ways of the World), is the news that "in China, kinks were sometimes deliberately introduced to prevent the roads and bridges from being used by fast-flying evil spirits." Traffic-calming measures for evil spirits - isn't that wonderful? The Chinese invent everything first.
* Does anyone else find it hard to think of Chesterton as Keith?