Friday, 3 August 2012

I've Got the Hump with Humps

This blog has been brewing for a fortnight - ever since my business partner got knocked off his motor scooter going over a road hump. He slowed down, the car behind him didn't. Result. Smash. Two weeks later he is still suffering with concussion and related side effects.
   What I would like to know is - How many people have been killed, injured or had their vehicles damaged by these so-called safety measures? Does the Office for National Statistics keep such records? How can we access them if they do, or do we have to wait for figures to be released?
   I have never liked these things. They are dangerous in the dark and wet when the markings for them have worn away. You can be driving along at the correct speed and suddenly, bump, you hit one. Once installed they are immovable so humps meant to slow traffic outside schools are still there in the middle of the night, all through the weekends and holidays.
   You cannot get into some towns without going over these obstructions. On entering one road I use frequently, the speed limit sign says 30mph. Then within yards there are humps which you have to crawl over. Why not simply reduced the speed to 20mph and have done with it?
   I drive a little two seater Smart car, mainly because I am usually a solo user and don't need a bigger car. But tackling speed humps in one of these short wheel-based cars is a nightmare. You have to slow down to about 5mph to negotiate it and if you don't hit it at the right angle it feels like the car is going to turn over. I know it won't, but it feels like it. Older humps are a bit better than some of the new ones that have appeared. Going into one of my local towns which has recently installed humps narrow enough for buses and vans to pass over without effect, is like running an obstacle course. These humps seem higher in the middle than older types, and do nothing for a car's suspension.
   So how many cyclists and motor cycle users have been knocked off their machines at these things?
   How many cars have been shunted from the rear because they have slowed down?
   How many accidents have been caused at night because people have not realised a hump is there, either because they don't know the road or the markings have worn away?
   How many cars have been damaged by these?
   I have little sympathy for people who were driving too fast in the first place, but even driving at the correct speed for the road seems dangerous when these things suddenly loom up ahead of you, especially in the dark.
   So if anyone knows the answers to these questions please let me know. Are they really cutting down accidents or causing them?

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