Time to break the speed? | india | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Dec 13, 2017-Wednesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Time to break the speed?

I think speed breakers really came under my ‘crib radar’ about three years ago. There I was in an auto, music blaring in ears, wind in my hair... when suddenly on the AIIMS flyover the auto rammed into a three-pronged speed breaker (SB) that had been constructed overnight.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2009 20:55 IST
Damini Purkayastha

I think speed breakers really came under my ‘crib radar’ about three years ago. There I was in an auto, music blaring in ears, wind in my hair... when suddenly on the AIIMS flyover the auto rammed into a three-pronged speed breaker (SB) that had been constructed overnight.

There, lying back-to-back in a row were three of those yellow-black metallic rods that the government passes off as SBs. Not that the auto slowed down; no, it just shuddered and drove right over the triumvirate. And while it did so, my head bobbed —wham into the top, wham into the side — my stomach flip-flopped and my back suffered serious shocks.

I have hated SBs with a passion ever since. I blame the broken foglight of my car, its skewed alignment and my often-stiff back entirely on those SBs. So, imagine my joy when I learnt this morning that the House of Representatives in Nigeria condemns the installation of SBs on highways and roads as “irresponsible”. In fact, the Deputy President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sen. Ekweremadu recently said that if the government is so concerned about speed safety, it should put in speed cameras, and not “those nasty bumps.” Hear! Hear!

The website of the Delhi Traffic police, however, considers SBs “traffic calming devices”. I wonder how those bumps on the road (often not even marked by the mandatory white lines) and those pithy metallic rods could calm anyone? Anyway, most people either slow down just for the SB and speed up right after, or just ignore their presence altogether. And I really don’t know about ‘calming’. I, for one, just get really annoyed when an SB crops up out of nowhere, serving no purpose whatsoever. Inside the colony that I live in, there are five SBs from one end of the main road to the other — and it’s hardly even a kilometre long! It’s like every resident has their own personal SB for when they walk their dog.

A couple of years ago, they made one of the yellow-black rod SBs along the Noida-Delhi DND. To begin with, an SB on a highway made no sense. What made it worse was that it was made at such a location that made it look like a sanctioned pedestrian pathway! So, cars driving at the sanctioned speed of 80 kmph would go flying over these monstrosities, with the driver often chipping a tooth or biting his tongue. Thankfully though, a Good Samaritan removed a small chunk of the SB a week later, and within a month some others finished the job.

Last week, a report stated that 298 SBs in Bangalore were designed “unscientifically” and had to be removed post-haste as they could be dangerous. I’d wager anything that Delhi could top that figure five times over.