Those Bumps….

I suppose, once upon a time, someone realized that cars had necessarily to go slower over a bump on the road…and “speed bumps” were born.

Certainly, I have seen such “speed bumps” and “rumble strips” in other countries too…but there is a world of difference between those and the ones we find in Bangalore.

Speed bumps are mandatorily preceded, in other countries, at a reasonable distance for the motorist, by a traffic sign warning that it is coming ujp ahead. And also, the bumps are clearly painted in highly visible stripes.

The main thing, of course, about speed bumps abroad is that the REST of the road is smooth and in good condition.

Not so in Bangalore.

Here, speed bumps actually add to the danger that the road poses for the road-user. Speed bumps are generally not scientifically designed, and could even be a line of bricks that have been tarred over. They jar unsuspecting road users terribly, and in Bangalore, where there are large numbers of two-wheelers, they are terribly dangerous and they can make the unsuspecting scooterist lose his balance. Also, very often, the bump is just an addition to the other potholes on the road as a hazard that road-users must navigate.

Instead of getting the information that a bump is coming up ahead, and slowing down, what happens is that a vehicle keeps going at speed, hits the bump and struggles to keep control while the surprsed drivers swears and suffers another bout of road rage…or a back injury, depending on how fast s/he has been going. Vehicles behind also can be put into danger when this happens.

Nor do the bumps always serve their purpose of slowing down the traffic at busy junctions. Sometimes they are constructed too far ahead of the junction, with the result that traffic, after having negotiated them, actually speed up again. And of course no one needs to be told the danger quotient of an unexpected road-bump for a two-wheeler, late at night when there is no traffic and the two-wheeler is doing much higher speeds than usual.

And sometimes they seem to be a kind of status symbol too. I remember, many years ago, UB constructing a speed bump outside their offices on Vittal Mallya Road which was later removed by the BMP. I can understand bumps before school gates or hospitals…but still cannot understand why they are laid only on one side of the road divider, direction of the traffic and not in the other. What is the logic behind this? And why should there be such bumps at each and every street corner, and on roads, like the Ring Roads, that are supposed to facilitate fast and smooth traffic? And why are they constructed, sometimes, high enough to scrape the axle or petrol sumps of vehicles, particularly low-slung ones? I used to joke that the speed bump near NIMHANS was actually the mountain that Hanuman had brought back to cure Lakshman!

I feel that road dividers without warning reflectors and such badly-designed and constructed speed bumps just make it more dangerous for people who use Bangalore roads. Is there someplace we can protest against them, and have illegally placed bumps removed, as they once were following an outcry?

7 Comments so far

  1. Vivek (unregistered) on March 14th, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

    I have seen speed bumps constructed out of cement in many inner lanes in Kormangala. Also add ueven main holes, can be easily seen anywhere particularly Near National Games Village Kormangala, which pose a danger to us motorists.

  2. Dev (unregistered) on March 14th, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

    One should check out the stretch of ring road from Kathriguppe in Banashankari to Mysore road junction. You will find at least 8 speed bumps of all possible types ( rumbling strips, single bumps, mount everests ) in a stretch of about 3 kms. I guess this is where the BMP tests new designs before deploying on rest of the city

  3. Sriram Iyer (unregistered) on March 14th, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

    On the Bellary Road (NH7), right from Hebbal flyover to Devanahalli, there are “mammoth tar deposits” on the road which pass themselves for speed breakers…not sure if its the authorities or the local public which is responsible for it. Its a highway for God’s sake!

  4. M O H A N (unregistered) on March 14th, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

    I guess pranav aka silkboard has done a deep analysis on this and written very funny notes on this aspect.

    In my 36 years of road driving in bangalore, there is a road which has 5 road humps of cement for every 3 meters! Yes, its 3 meters.

    This road is parallel to the main ring road joining silkboard junction. To experience this heaven,just take a left at AXA junctiona and immideate RIGHT. There you have it.

  5. Ajith (unregistered) on March 14th, 2007 @ 5:56 pm

    A joint lobby group of The Shock Absorber Manufacturers Association, Spine Specialists Association and the Vehicle Repair Union are reportedly paying a huge undisclosed sum to the Bangalore Police to install speed breakers accross the city. Based on their contract, the police is supposed to install these bumps without any kind of warning signs.

  6. Jagannath Moorthy (unregistered) on March 14th, 2007 @ 11:01 pm

    Another obstacle on the Bangalore roads are narrow gulleys (around a feet wide and a few inches deep) running the entire width of the road. This is especially common in BDA layouts. The reason, the water and sewerage lines are laid on opposite sides of the road. As each house is constructed, they need to dig up the entire width of the road to get connected. They never close it properly, sometimes with mud and stones, sometimes with cement. It just adds to the drama on Bangalore roads.

  7. silkboard (unregistered) on March 15th, 2007 @ 6:13 pm

    Ajith, that is funny! I have tried some similar humor here (Rattle therapy etc) – thank you Mohan for a mention.

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