Speedbreakers have no art and no science in Bangalore’s roads!

Speed bumps are the common name for a family of traffic-calming devices or designs 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.

Well – it sounds like a mission statement. But this is the purpose of the speed breakers or speed hump. These were discovered in 1906 and used in the US. Later in the late 70’s the British Transport and Research teams found that this was more suitable for private roads and not the public roads.

However in Bengaluru, you will find all private roads with concave dumps (roads mostly dug for electricity lines, water connections, sewerage problems and the telephone operators doing their bit). I am not talking of residents who use the roads to pitch in their Marquee (shamiana tents for their private house ceremonies in the midst of the road) and the main roads with these speed humps that were never designed for use on the main roads.

The speed breakers come in all shapes, sizes and forms in Bangalore. They also come unexpected, with no indications on the roads, such as sign boards, with no paint / markings on them. You generally know that you hit a speed breaker only after the hump hits your car belly hard.

Apparently there is no such thing called as science for these. Forget the artistic part of the story, the funniest part of the speed breakers is, they are on the fly over, underpass entry and exits and even halfway through the roads that are meant to help you travel faster. It is bizarre to see the speed breaker at the signals. I couldn’t figure head or tail of the motive behind humps on the traffic signals.

Mess on Rajarajeshwari Nagar Main Road

It was a late evening. I was shocked to see that there were tar machines and loads of people on the Rajarajeshwari Nagar main road and a few imported vehicles. I guessed it right – it was the corporator who was at work personally supervising creation of humps on the road.

I am quite sure that the traffic cops knew nothing of this nor did the civic authorities. A few speed breakers were laid in the darkness. Let me remind you, you couldn’t ask them to put up signage / paint / indication for the speed breakers at all. It is almost a crime if you asked them for this additional functionality. The beauty of the whole exercise, like elsewhere in Bangalore, was that all the speed breakers were poorly laid on the main roads, thereby choking the main roads and letting the cross roads scot free.

It is a no-brainer that the people joining the main road need to be slow and cautious of the vehicles that really need to move fast. Here we have the reverse engineering playing the sport. All vehicles rush into the main road while the poor main road traveler has to bear the hurt of these humps and also the zipping fast cross road vehicles.

When this will be looked into, and who will look into these? I would have been glad if the corporator spent a few minutes and closed the road medians which enter into the petrol pump in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar main road. I see many vehicles on the wrong side of the road trying to enter the fuel station; such is the sense and urgency to save fuel in the country. It is such a nightmare on the road when you are maneuvering between a million pot holes and you see a speeding truck or a taxi almost running into you in the wrong direction. I think this is a bigger potential mess.

This is just an example from my experience and I am sure other wards can’t be any different. I think we can only compare the degree of badness and not the degree of competitiveness or better functionalities. May be the text on my Tee was correct –“I was born intelligent, education ruined me.”

The corporator has other pressing topics that will be appreciated, if looked into. The nucleated traffic junk on all roads, the bad roads with a million pot holes, unkept and corrupt BBMP offices of the ward, and many more. Can he prioritize these burning topics and get to work on these, rather than creating new speedbreakers? I am sure no corporator is literate enough and most of them have no clue on how to connect to the citizens. I wish there were corporators on the social media who connected with the citizens.

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  1. As far as I know, speedbreakers on main city roads are illegal and can be demolished. If they are close to a junction with a traffic signal, you can report that to the traffic police and they can demolish it. Smaller roads in residential areas are a different story altogether.
    I remember Mr. Praveen Sood who was the commissioner of BTP and started the traffic police page on FB writing some excellent notes on topics like this. I found one here:

  2. The speed breakers come in all shapes, sizes and forms in Bangalore. They also come unexpected, with no indications on the roads, such as sign boards, with no paint / markings on them. You generally know that you hit a speed breaker only after the hump hits your car belly hard.

  3. The only valid point in this article is the lack of signages for speed-breakers.

    Other wise, the entire article talks only from a motorist’s point of view. The reason why there are speed-breakers is to help pedestrians cross the road. Removing these breakers and letting motorists “travel faster” as the author claims is very detrimental to people mobility.

    In fact, even with these breakers, pedestrians have a tough time crossing roads as motorists find gaps in these humps or in some cases, just fly through them.

    If anything, I would wish for more speed-breakers in the city.

    Let there be better signages so that motorists can see them and slow down accordingly. That’s a good thing to have.

    Removing speed-breakers so that vehicles can zip faster? Nope! The reason why vehicles get stuck in jams is because of increase in private vehicle usage. So, if motorists find it tough to negotiate the roads (due to the speed-breakers and, oh so slow-moving traffic), they should switch to public transport, simple.

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