Get a ‘Bump’ on City ‘Hump’? Unscientific/Unmarked Road Humps a Bane to Motorists
Mangaluru: The unscientifically laid road humps across the city are something that Mangaloreans need to complain about, as they not only pose a threat to the spines of motorists but also to vehicles. It is necessary that the highways department or local body should put up a warning sign 40m ahead of the speed breaker. If the government follows the IRC norms, it will help reduce accidents in the city. Speed breakers should also be painted with the correct yellow and white marks, but that’s what is lacking here in the city.
Does anyone care about it? Are our city and traffic authorities waiting for more casualties of motorists or what? It is time for the commuters/motorists to raise their voices against these unsafe “speed breakers” which are “life breakers” to the concerned local civic authorities. Let us do it for a good cause, the safety of our lives and the lives of the citizens. Safety is much more important than being sorry later. Let’s do it before it’s too late!
How often have you been caught unaware by that huge hump on the road without a signboard warning before it? Very often. By an estimate, almost 90% of these humps in Mangalore are unscientific. As per sources, the Indian Road Congress (IRC) standards do not recommend speed breakers at all. The speed limit in an urban hub like Mangaluru is between 25-40 kmph. If everyone travels at this speed, there’s no need for speed breakers. As per IRC standards, only narrow roads can have scientifically built parabolic humps and not main, wide roads. Then why do we have so many speed humps in the city?
Then why aren’t our city officials not following the rules? And if they are constructing these speedbreakers/road humps/speed bumps, then why aren’t they erecting caution signs about these speed controllers? These humps are hazardous, especially for two-wheeler riders, who fall off their bikes/scooters every single day- and since none of them are complaining- the police have turned a blind eye to it.
The image of notoriously bad city roads with potholes, chaotic traffic and omnipresent wandering cows and stray dogs is well-ingrained and added to that we have unmarked, unwarned, unwanted and unspecific sized speed bumps that create a lot of hassles and danger to motorists. The concerned authorities in Mangaluru may have done meticulous planning to give residents a smooth ride, however, speed breakers have been playing spoilsport. While their usage is only allowed in front of educational institutions, hospitals, churches/temples and some important places, they are found in abundance throughout the city. Most of the speed breakers in the city are, therefore, illegal. Nearly all of the speed breakers constructed on internal roads of the city are unauthorized and illegal. While there are strict regulations about the height of the speed breakers, according to the road laws, there is no limit to the ones in the city.
According to a senior orthopedist at a renowned private Hospital, in Mangaluru who said to me, “The speed bumps not only cause damage to the vehicles’ suspensions but also to the motorists’ spines. Speed breaker is not as harmless as you think. It could cause whiplash injuries, which can temporarily disable a person physically”. A speed breaker is essentially constructed on a road where excessive speed is the cause of accidents. They are supposed to be at places where traffic policemen cannot man the roads to ensure that driving is within the stipulated speed. Also, they are supposed to be on roads where fast driving is not feasible. But if you look around the city, speed bumps can be found everywhere, and without any caution signs putting the motorists, especially two-wheeler riders’ lives in jeopardy.
The authorities have constructed many speed breakers on various roads in the city. However, the height of these breakers does not conform to norms that have been set by the Indian Road Congress (IRC). Two-wheelers and three-wheelers frequently lose balance due to the height of these breakers. Commuting has become very dangerous at night due to this, and especially for out-of-town motorists these speed breakers are very dangerous without any warning signs. A speed bump should be indicated by a warning sign just before the driver reaches the bump.
Speed bumps are usually painted with black and yellow stripes to draw a driver’s attention before he reaches the bump. While many of the road humps are not painted with stripes, the painted stripes have worn out on others. Without these indicators, drivers would hit the speed bump at higher speeds, resulting in a jolt to passengers and potential damage to the vehicle. When vehicles pass over these humps, the spine is hurt and speeding vehicles often meet with accidents if they fail to slow down at these humps.
This morning (Monday, 28 August) I almost lost control of my two-wheeler while passing on an unmarked/dilapidated speed hump near Indira Hospital, Falnir Road in the City, but luckily I didn’t tumble off my scooter and got injured, nor with any damages to the vehicle. But chances are that this unmarked hump could cause injuries or fatality, depending on how fast a vehicle is moving, especially two-wheeler riders. While constructing these humps, the bad part is while some of them are marked with white stripes, many have been left unmarked. And that’s common, with our City or any government authority that undertakes a new project, they don’t do it right the first time. They wait for a casualty and then rectify their bad work?
During the Police Commissioner’s phone-in programme on Saturday last month, one caller complained about the unscientific road rumblers/humps on NH 66 near Padua College, and it’s been over a month now, no action has been taken to remove these unscientific humps. So what’s the impact of a phone-in programme? But even though the present humps are much better than the unscientific plastic/fibre black and yellow speed breakers, which are hazardous, the concerned authorities have not taken the initiative of painting white stripes on them. Many motorists not knowing of these road humps have been facing hurdles- some even losing balance. The humps should have been painted as soon as they were constructed- why wait for days and weeks to paint them with stripes? Guess, that’s our district administration’s way of doing the job their way, I guess?
Seems like these road Humps/Speed -breakers are a bane for motorists in the City. The construction of humps is not only illegal but purely unscientific. The MCC and the traffic police, who are caught in the blame game, are completely oblivious to the plight of motorists. When questioned about the presence of unauthorized road humps, the officials say that they were erected in response to public demand. Riding a two-wheeler on these streets with humps is a traumatic experience. In addition to negotiating with traffic, the number of humps, its height and the short distance between them accentuates the problem. Some of these humps are constructed in such a way that motorists experience severe pressure on their backs. Motorists losing balance, sustaining injuries is a common feature due to these humps.
Although the motorists, if they are alert, they may see the humps during daylight, but at night it is a safety hazard. What are the officials waiting for? Are they waiting for motorists to fall off their two-wheelers and get injured? You need to drive slowly over these or else you’ll bottom out your vehicle and cause damage to your vehicle. I’ve witnessed drivers and riders not slowing down and they end up bouncing almost out of control until the driver realizes they need to stop to regain control once again. Minor accidents like motorists falling off their two-wheelers often take place in the city on these unmarked speed humps, but since no one reports these accidents to MCC or the traffic police, the accidents still continue. Commuting has become very dangerous at night due to this, and especially for out-of-town motorists these speed breakers are very dangerous without any warning signs.
In conclusion, the speed breakers should be parabolic for smooth road crossing and should be painted and properly illuminated. Rows of solar energy-based cat eyes should be laid before the humps. Sign boards should be erected to warn the drivers/riders- well ahead of a speed hump. Speed bumps are usually painted with black and white stripes to draw a driver’s attention before he reaches the bump. Without these indicators, drivers would hit the speed bump at higher speeds, resulting in a jolt to passengers and potential damage to the vehicle.
When vehicles pass over these humps, the spine is hurt, and speeding vehicles often meet with accidents if they fail to slow down at these humps. I will say it again, It is time for the commuters/motorists to raise their voices against these unsafe “speed breakers” which are ”life breakers” to the concerned local civic authorities. Let us do it for a good cause for the safety of our lives and the lives of the citizens. Safety is much more important than being sorry later. Let’s do it before it’s too late – Thank You.