No one really appreciates the humble speed bump, especially when they’re in a hurry and are forced to slow down. About 3” to 6” high, these asphalt constructions have been saving lives for several years now. They’re a tried and tested method of slowing people down and directing the traffic properly.
An increasing number of people are now questioning the need for speed bumps, especially in suburbs and residential areas, where they’ve been in high demand. They were originally intended for urban roads, after all.
Slowing people down
The main purpose of a speed bump is to slow people down. This is vital in areas that get high pedestrian traffic. Strategically placed speed bumps can hinder speeding vehicles before crossings, entrances and exits, sharp turns, etc. This helps prevent accidents by a large margin.
In fact, speed bumps might as well be one of the few things that successfully discourage recklessness in drivers when they’re in a hurry. Without speed bumps, it’s very likely that no one would actually consciously lower their speed when they’re approaching crossings or high-traffic areas.
Consideration for pedestrians
Pedestrians are very vulnerable to traffic and speeding. No matter how carefully they cross the road, a single speeding vehicle can put their life at risk. Speed bumps actually lower fatalities occurring due to vehicular accidents. When the driver is forced to slow down, the pedestrian has more time to cross, spot the vehicle and get out of the way if necessary. The installations are especially important in the vicinity of schools and parks, were children and youth regularly use the roads.
People in a rush generally tend to avoid streets that are known to be lined with speed bumps. This redirects some traffic from one street to another. For example, if a street by a school has a few speed bumps, many drivers would take another route, keeping that particular street free of severe traffic. This reduces traffic noise so that classes aren’t disturbed and it also reduces risk to children. Moreover, if a path is a known short-cut to some destination, adding a few speed bumps to it can prevent it from getting too crowded with traffic.
While speed bumps have several advantages, naysayers are keen to point out the disadvantages as well. Many claim that bumps can be risky for bicyclists or motorcyclists. Observers have also pointed out that speed bumps reduce the response time of emergency services. They can also cause an increase in vehicular emissions since cars would have to frequently decelerate and accelerate.