The Big Sleep for Sleeping Policemen?

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
the big sleep for sleeping policemen

According to a survey by NEWCARNET, 87 percent of British drivers want to see the demise of "sleeping policemen" (a.k.a. speed humps or speed bumps). Introduced in 1991, these "traffic calming" measures range in size from 75 to 100mm high (three to four inches for the metrically challenged). The survey claims sleeping policemen are responsible for damage to cars and buildings, increased road noise levels and injuries to drivers with bone conditions. Their detractors also consider them a dangerous distraction that slows emergency vehicles, and oft times diverts heavy traffic onto less suitable roads. The speed bumps' safety value is also a matter of debate. When Barnet City Council removed all of their sleeping policemen in 2005, accidents had dropped by 14.9 percent. Despite all this– and an anti-sleeping policeman petition that garnered 6,622 signatures– don't look for their extinction any time soon. The UK government has proven itself almost entirely unresponsive to public objections to road safety measures.

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  • Samir Syed Samir Syed on Sep 19, 2007

    FreeMan: That's because you can hit a sweet spot where the car is really light and just glides over the bump. I do it in rental cars all the time. I don't recommend it in a Lamborghini, though, it'll wreck your front lip.

  • TaxedAndConfused TaxedAndConfused on Sep 19, 2007

    Speed humps are going but new "chicanes" are everywhere now. More entertaining though as you play chicken with the poor driver coming the other way...

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Sep 19, 2007

    I like the whole honk for speed humps thing. If they were really used for safety I would not care, but when they are incorrectly used to discourage road use I get p.o.'d. Some rich farts near me, convinced the city to put the darn things all over their street. Problem is, the street has had traffic lights on both ends for over 40 years! It's been a relatively busy street for all that time. On a different note, they are now replacing the street and sewers underneath a couple blocks away where the cars and trucks coming off the speed bump caused a collapse after about 6 years. And yes, the parents who bought homes on this street which has had similar traffic patterns since the 70's all want the humps back. How about you keep your kids off the street? Is it really too much to ask? You moved onto a busy street you idiot!

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Oct 08, 2007

    The British speedbumps I've seen on TopGear are big wide lazy lumps rather than the little sharp bumps that I see at the local schools which are more like driving over a 4"x4"... In our neighborhood there are people who - depsite the fact that the neighborhood kids ride their bikes, pitch the baseball or football back and forth in the street, etc - insist on rushing in and out of the neighborhood. The speed limit is 25 mph (a very reasonable speed I think) but these yahoos insist on roaring through the neighborhood at 40 mph. I'd put up with the noise to put one of the British type speed bumps near my house to slow these people down a bit. We live in a neighborhood with an access road i.e. all the neighborhood streets go nowhere but loops and cul-de-sacs, a great neighborhood design. I too find myself speeding on the access roads near our neighborhood so I try to keep my car in 4th gear and my speeds low. I'm sure those people along those roads would like us to slow down too. Chris