Speed Bumps

I hate them.  Does anyone really like them?  Do they really do any good?

Then there are the “traffic calming humps”.  Tell me, does anyone feel calm after transversing those things?

I think the theory is that the humps are such an irritant that you won’t travel the road unless you really have to.  Negative reinforcement.  I look at it as punishment on the assumption that you are going to violate the speed limit.  That is quite contrary to what I thought our basic legal premise was.  Innocent until prooven guilty.

And why punish the poor residents of the neighborhood?  They must find it excruciating to live on a street where they are forced to endure humps.

Why do they insist on building speed bumps and humps so high?  Is there any standard?  Really, an inch over the distance of a speed bump or hump should be enough to remind folks to calm down.  The deflections of four to five inches or more are not justifiable. 

Some people look at speed bumps as something magical.  I remember talking to a person working in a store in a shopping plaza where speed bumps were being installed.  She remarked how glad she was to see them and shared an anecdote about a woman who had just that day run her car into the front of a store.  I pondered her story and asked her how a speed bump would have changed the outcome and she admitted that it would not, but she thought it still seemed like a good idea to have them.  Go figure.

How many folks would rejoice over having speed bumps and humps in place while they were being transported in an ambulance?  With a potential back injury? 

The purpose of these irritants must be to modify our driving behavior.  Since when does negative reinforcement work?  Especially when you live on the street and must transverse these obstacles no matter what.  I would think that would engender some kind of neighborhood road rage.  Coming into your street after suffering the ignominies of commuter traffic only to be forced to slow down again to avoid feeling your suspension hitting the bump stops.

That is just it.  These traffic calming devices are supposed to benefit the neighborhood and what they really do is punish the folks that live there. 

The wrong problem is being addressed I think.  If you want to discourage people from using a particular route make the one you want them to use more attractive.  Don’t just make the one you want them to avoid a miserable experience.  That just builds anger and frustration.

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One Response to Speed Bumps

  1. Mark says:

    Jim,

    I feel your frustration. For 38 months, or 1140 days, at an average of twice per day, I had to drive over all the bumps – six to be exact from the entrance of my apartment to the building my apartment was in. I went slow, but it was still maddening while driving my corvette, with no ground clearance, first gear, second gear, stop and repeat. Driving the trucks was worse, especially empty the rear springs would bounce you off the roof.

    You know, they make an “Asphalt Planer” attachment for skid loaders. This is a small scale version of the large asphalt chewers they use to take up highways. I’ll start surfing ebay for a used one, and then you just make a list of the ones that trouble you, and in the wee hours of the morning, we’ll see if we can’t mill them down to a reasonable height. ; )

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