The Faster the Better?
Service Calls, Yes; Neighborhood Safety, Not So Much
AAA Spokesperson Calls Speed Bumps "Raised Potholes"Speaking as cyclists and parents (and not trying to sound like the old codger down your block who screams at your kids to slow down on their training wheels), we think that it's not a bad idea for motorists to drop their speeds when, say, children or bikes are around.
In our last AAA Watch we reported on the California State Automobile Association's successful campaign against a California State Assembly bill that would have revised the definition of "local street or road" so that smaller jurisdictions could decide which streets should be limited to 25 mph speed limits. Well, it seems that in the meantime AAA had also taken aim at another speed control measure: the speed bump.
Sure, speed bumps can be annoying. But they're also effective in dealing with the safety concerns of many residential neighborhood dwellers by reducing the speeds of motor vehicles on multiuse roadways. And, unlike speed limits, they're not easily ignored.
AAA Mid-Atlantic disagrees. When interviewed for a Washington Examiner article on the proliferation of speed bumps in the D.C. area, a AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson had this to say about speed bumps: "They're raised potholes is what they are. They confound motorists, they confuse neighbors. Only a city planner could love them."
We won't deny that there are probably a few speed bump happy planners out there, but to dismiss speed bumps out of hand by equating them with a road hazard prone to damaging vehicles seems to be going too far (or should that be too fast?). For one thing, speed bumps are visibly marked, and motorists know what to do when they approach them. Who knows, though? Maybe D.C. metro speed bumps just pop up out of nowhere. But why get rid of an effective safety measure just because it might be poorly executed? In other words, don't throw out the bath water with the baby, just look for a better transportation planner.
First the speed limit and now the speed bump. AAA must really be feeling the heat of our competition, because why else should they be so concerned with rushing their service vehicles around residential neighborhoods? We hope our members will understand the one or two minutes extra it might take our service providers to slow down and get over the "raised potholes" on their streets. At least the bumps we're driving over won't be the neighbors.