17 November 2008

Humps

Humps or bumps or sleeping policemen? I don't care what label you give them but I hate them. From time to time, it's healthy to have a good rant and speed humps are very rantworthy - if there is such a word.

It's amazing when you start scouring the internet just how much strong feeling there is out there about the humps. Far from being a traffic calming measure they are a source of much annoyance amongst drivers up and down this country. Until writing this post, I hadn't realised that speed bumps often cause actual physical pain to people with back complaints or those who have recently had surgery in hospitals. I had also failed to recognise that the braking and acceleration associated with speed bumps creates extra noxious gas pollution. That's just two powerful arguments against the damned things.

Let's go back in time - about ten years ago. In my home city - Sheffield - there wasn't a single speed bump - apart from those on hospital property. Then somebody at the council thought it would be a good idea to randomly introduce them on nearby Rustlings Road just by Endcliffe Park. Why there and nowhere else is an unanswerable question. Rustlings Road is an ordinary city street and in the twenty years I have lived nearby I can't recall one single occasion when a pedestrian was reportedly knocked down upon it by a speeding vehicle.

Those speed bumps led to a humping industry where teams of road workers would seemingly randomly dig up roads and with no consultation with local residents create the dreaded humps. Sometimes the humps would be in red tarmac, sometimes in black/grey. Sometimes they'd be continuous humps and sometimes intermittent, individual humps. Between these devilish mounds they would sometimes leave a foot, sometimes a metre. The distance between them like the height is variable - with apparently no regulatory dimensions.

When we had a Ford Focus, I could whizz over these individual mounds without much of a bump at all. Like many drivers, I found myself concentrating more on how to drive over the speed bumps than upon more important traffic issues such as who was behind me and who was in front or whether or not there were children playing at the roadside. However, in Shirley's environmentally-sound little Nissan Micra with its narrow wheelbase, there is no way you can whizz over the speed bumps. In a thirty mile an hour zone, you have to literally get down to 15mph in order to avoid damage caused by the jolting that each speed bump creates. This can be frustrating for following drivers in bigger cars who probably don't understand that each speed bump is like a hazard to be negotiated when you are driving in a small car.

Why do some roads have them while others don't? How much does the speed bump tarmac have to crumble before it is repaired? Why do councils make driving even more difficult by creating costly one way "chicaines" at random points on humped roads? How do they decide to have continuous or broken humps? How many lives have been saved by speed humps and more significantly how many lives have been lost because of them? How much damage do speed bumps cause to cars each week and in the longer term?

Send £50 (or $80US) to Mr Y.Pudding if you wish to join the "BASH" organisation - Bloggers Against Speed Humps. Direct action will be important in our campaign so please ensure you have a pick axe, a pneumatic drill or a stick of semtex handy and wait for further instructions from BASH command.

Ugly monstrosity!

9 comments:

  1. Don't get me started on humps, YP. We have hundreds of them and, yes, they are more difficult to negotiate in smaller cars. Garages, of course, are making a fortune repairing all the damage done by them to cars.
    BTW, could you please display a warning about the fact that you now have (very good) music on your blog, so that I can avoid giving myself a heart attack when I unsuspectingly visit it wearing headphones? ;)

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  2. Okay, I'm ready to join! What's our slogan?
    I live on a long straight road with lots of humps. They are very annoying for normal motorists but I find that hooligans in stolen cars barely notice them if they go fast enough.

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  3. These are called "speed bumps" around here. The road immediately to the south of where I sit has speed bumps that are the most annoying I've ever encountered. They are spaced about 100 yards apart and they're very tall. You must crawl over them. The speed limit on the road is 25 mph, but I dare anyone to drive that fast over those bumps.

    I'd sure like to meet the person who invented speed bumps. I'd like to have a little chat....

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  4. JENNYTA I will add something more gentle just for you!
    DAPHNE A slogan? Perhaps "Give Humps the Hump!" or "Dump The Humps!"
    SAM Sorry about the language problem as I fully realise that in the USA a "speed hump" is what American housewives expect on a Friday night when hubby gets back from work - "Hi! Honey! I'm home!"
    Grrrroan! - "Oh no!"

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  5. in this town the council has installed speed bumps on the main a-classified two way road through the town, thus forcing alot of traffic onto roads which are narrow, residential, steep and cobbled (which are very expensive to relay after heavy traffic has loosened them). They have just been put in the most convenient bit of road to install them in with no regard to anything else. the people who plan these things are thoughtless idiots

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  6. The Friday night speed hump...the wives probably expect that BEFORE hubby gets home from work.

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  7. And I second jennyta's comment....

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  8. ARTHUR - Even in Richmond - the bloody speed humps! It's like aplague spreading around this once bump-free land.
    SAM - Ha! Ha! But who is dishing out the speed humps in the suburbs of America? Is it a service you can find in Yellow Pages? You second Jennyta's comment - what about the music or the damage?

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  9. I did like your choice of music very much, YP but it just came out a bit loud and caught me unawares.:)

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.