Speed Bumps are the common name for a family of traffic calming devices that use vertical deflection to slow motor-vehicle traffic in order to improve safety conditions. Variations include the speed hump (or speed ramp), speed cushion, and speed table.
The use of vertical deflection devices is widespread around the world, and they are most commonly found where vehicle speeds are statutorily mandated to be low, say25 mph, or 5 mph in car parking lots.
Although speed bumps are effective in keeping vehicle speeds down, their use is sometimes controversial—as they can increase engine noise and may damage vehicles if traversed at too great a speed. Poorly designed speed bumps that stand too tall or with too-sharp an angle, which is often the case in private automobile parking lots, can be overly disruptive for drivers, and may be difficult to navigate for vehicles with low ground clearance, even at very low speeds. Many sports cars have this problem with speed bumps. Speed bumps can also pose serious hazards to bicyclists if they aren’t clearly visible. Though, in some cases a small cut across the bump allows those vehicles to traverse without impediment. Speed bumps cost between $50–$200 and may need have to be replaced over time due to wear.
Last year, parking lots and driving lanes in our community were re-paved and along with this new pavement came some speed bumps. If you think the current generation of 70-100 year-olds is complacent you better guess again. Two large speed bumps were installed in the main driving lanes for access and egress from the main residential parking area. It became obvious immediately to all of us that these speed bumps posed an immediate hazard. When you drove across them at 10 mph, you would bounce to the ceiling of your car. It was impossible to go slow enough to avoid being bumped around. They did not have stripes like the speed bump pictured above. The speed bumps blended into the pavement and they were upon you before you could react.
Most of us over 70 have enough pain at is and we don’t need a hazard to bring out every pain all at one time. Naturally, there was a lot of talking in The Grille and the DINING ROOM and no one was defending the administration or the maintenance department. Who authorized these abominations? We didn’t have speed bumps before! It’s only the delivery people and visitors that speed. I can’t leave the parking lot now. Speed bumps have to go. The person who designed these speed bumps is a moron. It’s obvious to anyone that looks at them that they are too high and steep!!
All of a sudden a petition appeared on the residents’ bulletin board. In a heartbeat, there were 175 signatures on the thing. It was delivered to Joe, our Executive Director, with the demand that the speed bumps be removed. He said he would get with maintenance and the contractor to decide the course of action.
At the Town Meeting two weeks later, our chief maintenance guy, Dana, who is a diligent worker and great fellow, came to the podium. He said, “we are going to lower the speed bumps and paint stripes on them. That should solve the problem.” Bedlam ensued with at least 15 people speaking at once decrying that solution. Our folks are not docile and they are vocal about things that bother them. Bob stood and said, “These things are poorly constructed and are a driving hazard. The only solution is to remove them. They do not need to be replaced!”
Overwhelmingly, the residents wanted the two on the main drag removed. Dana looked to Joe for help. Joe was engrossed in his shiny shoes. To be fair, I believe he was reviewing all of his options.
Finally, he stood, “We’ll take them out!” Another victory for the grey panthers. The democratic process at its finest.