Road Access for Disabled Americans
= less new,
= least new
- "Road humps can damage houses", Jonathan Leake,
The Sunday Times, London, December 28, 1997
"Government research has found they [humps] increase noise,
raise pollution and can damage nearby properties by generating
powerful underground vibrations."
"The studies, by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), follow criticism
that road humps cause millions of pounds worth of damage to cars and
inflict pain on drivers and passengers with disabilities."
"Traffic Calming Versus Safety", Canada Safety Council, 1999
"...turning the road into an obstacle course creates frustration,
leading to dangerous moving violations."
- Drawbacks of speed humps,
Speed Humps in the City of Roseville, California, undated
- Response time for emergency vehicles
- Some motorists swerve around the speed humps, necessitating the
installation of metal posts on both sides of the speed humps. However,
many of these posts do not allow sufficient sidewalk width for wheelchairs.
- Some motorists increase speed between speed humps to make up for lost
- Numerous speed humps are necessary on a long stretch of road.
This can frustrate motorists and cause them to drive over the speed
humps at 30-35 mph because at this speed, many vehicles can absorb the
impact of the speed humps with little discomfort to the driver.
- There is increased noise at speed hump locations due to vehicles
slowing and accelerating.
- Speed humps cause traffic to divert to parallel streets.
- Vehicles experience increased wear-and-tear.
Risk Management Analysis Studies
City Policies & Reports
- Smooth roadways - policy statements
Missouri City, Texas
"The State of Texas does not recognize speed humps an
official traffic control device. This decision is based on various
studies which have all raised concern about the
potential dangers of speed humps. State and Local Governments can
be held liable for injuries caused by speed humps. For these reasons,
the City of Missouri City does not use speed humps on public streets."
"Speed bumps are a challenge to
the daredevil, a hazard to the unsuspecting, and a
bothersome disruption to emergency vehicles and
bicycles. Also, the city may be held liable for personal
injury, and vehicle damage resulting from loss of
control caused by the bump."
Rancho Cucamonga, California (from Rapid City, South Dakota)
"An overly high bump can cause damage to the under carriage of a low riding vehicle.
A smoother bump can cause an uncontrollable rocking on a smaller vehicle."
... "No single type of speed bump has been found to be successful in safely
controlling the speed of all types of vehicles. They are therefore, not used. "
Salt Lake City, Utah
"... actual tests of various experimental designs have demonstrated
the physical inability of a speed bump to control all types of light weight
and heavy weight vehicles successfully. In fact, a softsprung sedan is
encouraged to increase speed for a better ride, while some vehicles may
- Portland, Maine
- Stevens Avenue Project Report - excerpts
"... the accident rate per month has increased from .65 to a 1.0."
"Stop Chicken Little" Speed Hump Information
"The Truth About the Stevens Avenue Traffic Calming Project
in Portland, Maine"
"Stevens Avenue pedestrian project faces challenges", John Alphonse,
reality x, August 1, 1997
"...the only way to reduce driving and encourage people to use
other means of travel is by frustrating drivers to the point where
they'd rather do something else. Traffic calming techniques, among them
the "speed bump" and narrowed lanes, are one way of doing this..."
- Jason Wentworth, director of the Alliance for Transportation Choice
Sunnyvale, California - study
Air pollution increased by speed humps
due to acceleration/deceleration
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque Journal, "ABQjournal Road Warrior",
D'Val Westphal, February 22, 2000
'Patrick Ayala e-mails that his son, Paul, an eighth-grader at St. Mary's Catholic School, "did his science project on speed humps
and ... it proved that (the stop-and-go driving) does cause carbon monoxide levels to go up as the vehicle approaches the speed
humps. Paul's project will be at the Northwestern Regional Science Fair at UNM on March 18." '
Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, "NOx Control Measure Options",
Department of Environmental Resources, North Central Texas Council of
Governments, January 06, 2000
"Traffic Management - Remove speed humps"
Houston, Texas, Nitrogen Oxides & Other
Pollutants Emitted At Speed Humps in Houston, Texas
"additional NOx generated on our neighborhood streets by the braking
and acceleration at humps ... (equals) ...
at least one ton per 24-hour day"
- Portland, Maine
..."cars negotiating the bumps belched out 10 times more nitrogen
oxide, 3 times more poisonous carbon monoxide, and 25% more carbon
dioxide, linked to global warming, than vehicles maintaining a
- Also see ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH site listed below
Fuel consumption increased by speed humps
- ROADS '96 Conference Proceedings - Part 7, Traffic Engineering
& Transport Planning, "Speed Profiles and Vehicle Fuel Consumption
at LATM Devices", Rocco Zito and Mike Taylor, Australia
"In the Glen Osmond trial, speed humps were removed, achieving a savings
in fuel consumption although there was an increase in the average speed
for the street. Hence the aggressive nature of speed humps with their
sharp acceleration and deceleration profiles (as shown in Figure 6)
lower the average speed along the street but also cause an increase in
Automotive problems associated with humps
- Tire Damage
"Calmed into a fury",
Telegraph, David Rudnick, September 5, 2000
"The spreading jumble of humps, cushions, chicanes and pinch points
are not just eyesores and a drain on public funds; they can actually
contribute to the accidents they are meant to avert."
- Example from Vancouver, Clark County, Washington,
including photos of blown tires and bent rims.
- Ramp Taxis, per ramp taxi driver,
California, June 14, 2000
"Please add ramp taxis to the list of vehicles which have problems
with even the smallest speed bumps.
"The floor is lowered in the conversion process, and since the
ride height remains close to the same, the floor scrapes the speed bump.
On the Vantage-converted Ford Windstars, that is added stress to a body
structure that already has [...problems with...] structural rigidity."
- Pre-mature Wear, Urgent Neighborhood Alert, Auburn Taxpayers and Parents
for Safe Streets and Rapid Police, Fire & Paramedic Response,
"Continued exposure to speed bumps will cause pre-mature
wear to front-end suspension parts, shocks, motor mounts and
brakes. Keeping tires balanced and in alignment can also be
a problem. People who live in neighborhoods with speed bumps
will very likely experience higher vehicle repair costs."
- Ray Leonard, Owner, Auburn 76 Tire and Service Center,
Former President, Auburn Chamber of Commerce
Airbags blast into the speed hump debate.
- Suspensions - link to information
on our ACCESS page.
- "Humps for chumps...But they'll go flat out for sensible drivers",
Stephen Lewis, February 15, 2001, The Evening Press, York
"YOU can't blame Tom Hynes for having the hump with road humps. They were,
after all, responsible for not one but two of his family cars being pranged in
the same bizarre accident three years ago. And it wasn't even his fault.
"The two cars, a Volvo and a Metro, had been parked safely at the side of
the road outside his home in Foxwood Lane, York. A third car, an Escort belonging
to a gas repair man, was parked in between.
"A car speeding along the road had a disagreement with a hump, flew into the
air, landed on two wheels and careered across the road into Tom's Volvo.
"The Volvo shunted into the Escort, which shunted into the Metro. Metro and
Volvo were both wrecked - though bizarrely the Escort in the middle was almost undamaged.
"So given his history it's not surprising that Tom, a 43-year-old support worker
with City of York Council, isn't the biggest fan of the sleeping policeman.
" 'Everywhere you go it's humps, humps, humps,' he grumbles. 'Where I live in
Foxwood Lane, the whole road is speed humps. I used to have a Capri, and I had the
whole sump ripped out. I went to B&Q to get a load of concrete. I was only doing
about 15mph but the car was that low it took out the whole sump. So you could say
I'm really humped off.'
"He's not the only one. Evening Press letter writers have been eloquent about
the damage caused to the undercarriage of their prized motor vehicles by the obdurate
lumps of solid concrete that stretch from side to side across the road.
"As far as Tom is concerned, they don't even do much good. The real speed-merchants
- joyriding teenagers - don't take any notice of them anyway, he says.
" 'They're going up and down at 60mph all the time,' he says. 'And they don't care,
because they're not their cars.' "
"Speed bump is raising the ire of R.I. motorists, Shannon Tan, Boston Sunday Globe,
February 4, 2001
"In December. a police officer hit the bump and landed in the hospital with
injured ribs and vertebrae. A senator's Lincoln Town Car leaked antifreeze after
its encounter with the bump, resulting in $1,100 worth of repairs. And a fire
engine hit the bump on the way to a fire, became airborne, and cracked its frame and
water tank." - confirmation,
How different vehicles take the humps
"TTC warns of speed hump dangers", Shannon Beveridge,
Mirror Guardian, March 23, 2001, Toronto
" 'It's essential for us because these speed humps are very damaging
to our buses and they turn our customers into patients by throwing
them around the buses,' Brian Ashton, TTC chair, said. 'It's
wrecking the buses and our customers.' "
Item 22., Toronto Transit Commission Minutes -
Meeting No. 1796 Wednesday, March 21, 2001
"APPROVED ... THAT STAFF BE REQUESTED TO PURSUE THE REMOVAL OF
SPEED CALMING DEVICES ON EXISTING TRANSIT ROUTES."
"H10 fuel spill drama", This is London, February 21, 2001
"The single-decker bus had a fuel tank 'filled to the
brim' when the tank ruptured as it scraped against a
speed bump, according to a Harrow Fire Station spokesman.
"All buses had to be re-routed while firefighters
cordoned off the area and waited for council lorries to
dump sand on the road to absorb the fuel."
DETR - Social Exclusion and the Provision and Availability of Public
Transport, Chapter 8 Transport Provision, October 27, 2000
"...if roads are ... calmed with traffic humps, it may be
difficult or impossible for low-floor vehicles to enter the area."
& further on
"There can be problems running buses through estates. One of
these is the physical problem; some buses simply cannot go down
the smaller roads. If there are road humps and parked cars it is
particularly difficult. Where buses have to come to a virtual
standstill to cross road humps, there can be a danger of the bus
being 'stoned' by vandals. Examples of vandalisation of buses in
what were generally considered less salubrious areas were given
by all the operators approached during this study. "
ITE Traffic Information Program Series - Speed Humps
"...speed humps may also have the following detrimental
effects: ... Conflict with school and transit bus operation..."
Perth Press Release, July 24, 2000
"The speed humps in Garth Avenue will be
removed to allow buses to operate along the diversion route."
"Traffic Calming Problems?", Ray Brindle, ARRB, Victoria, Australia
"...motorists took to driving down the sidewalks to avoid the humps."
- Forum: uk.rec.motorcycle,
Richard Smith, September 4, 1999,
"Some years ago, the local council  turned our road from a 30mph into a
20mph zone, complete with humps, bumps etc. As it was quite narrow with a
sharp bend, I used to travel at about 20-25 anyway. However, I quickly
discovered that my old BX would bump and thump over the hump at 20, but
would glide effortlessly over it with hardly a ripple at 40 and above. I
soon got into the habit of going all the way down the road with the boot down...
 Wokingham. This was before I moved back out West."
Road-infrastructure problems for motorcyclists,
Federation of European Motorcyclists Association
Motorcycle sidecar testing gets priority over disabled access
cyclist explains "abrupt upward acceleration and upward pitch ...
abrupt downward acceleration with a downward pitch," etc.
reviews of FHWA publications on bicycle planning & traffic calming.)
- View a
Police car that can take the humps at 70 MPH!!
- SOUTH AFRICA
Cruel driver left my girl to die in back of bakkie,
claims angry dad", Sunday Times, Victor Khupiso, 10-4-98
Child dies after being struck by a driver "...trying to avoid speed humps".
- COLORADO, Boulder Planet
- MARYLAND, Montgomery County, Gazette
To see the complete articles, go to the "SEARCH" page,
type "HUMP" in the box and click on "FIND."
You'll need to register with
the Electronic Telegraph, one time, before being allow access to
their archives. The registration process starts
as you begin your search and is fast/easy.
[See also: ET article on buses referenced
- Humps 'increase exhaust fumes', January 14, 1998
"ROAD humps are a serious environmental threat,
causing increases in car exhaust pollution of at least
50 per cent and worsening petrol consumption, according
to a Government-funded study."
- "Lawyer seeks death sentence for speed bumps", August 14, 1997
"The final straw for Mr Burton was when the rear
skirt of his Ford Escort RS1600i was torn away as he
drove over a sleeping policeman 'at between 10mph and 15mph'."
- "Lamborghini importer gets the hump", May 28, 1997
"Porsche Cars, which also brings in the 30 or
so Lamborghinis sold each year in Britain, is fighting a
council plan to install speed humps on the road leading
to its British headquarters on the outskirts of
Reading, Berks. The firm says the problem is that the
streamlined Lamborghini has such a low ground
clearance that with two adults on board it may grate
on a speed hump."
- "Bumps give motorists the hump", December 22, 1996
"MOTORISTS jolted and jarred by the ubiquitous road hump are
hitting back. A driver compensated for a broken exhaust pipe
could herald a flood of further claims."
Legal & Ethical Questions
"The calming before a storm of protest", The Times,
January 9, 2001, David Rudnick
"TRAFFIC calming scenes may not see to offer fertile ground for
litigation but if local authorities fail to consult residents properly
or accept vested interests as partners in implementing them, judicial
revie briefs could soon abound."
Petition called "political document" - "not adequate to create 'a material
factual issue...' "
Dearborn Heights - "Michigan City Immune from Liability When No Admissible
Evidence Showed Intersection Was Unsafe", US ROADS, August 10, 1997
"The trial court concluded that non-expert testimony from people
who lived in the neighborhood was not adequate to create 'a material
factual issue concerning the safety of the intersection.' "
"The plaintiff then offered a petition signed by area residents and
claiming the intersection was unsafe. The court called this a 'political
document' and remained unpersuaded by it..."
City of Las Vegas Policy on the Use of Speed Humps for
Neighborhood Speed Control, adopted by the City of Las Vegas
City Council, May 3, 1995
"7.0 LIABILITY CONCERNS
"Speed humps and other pavement undulations are not traffic control
devices as defined by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. They
are, however, geometric design features of the roadway and should be
designed, installed, operated and maintained using accepted engineering
principles and prudent engineering judgment.
"If speed humps are not installed in a proper manner and with due care,
and vehicle damage or personal injury occurs, it is possible the installing
agency could be found to be maintaining a public nuisance, i.e., a known
defect in the street system which may result in increased liability exposure.
Therefore, complete and proper documents should be retained to LEFT the
decisions made. Local and state laws should also be reviewed to identify
any regulations pertaining to roadway design, roadway maintenance, traffic
control, or other elements that may be related to the use of speed humps or
other geometric design features."
"Human Rights Act Becomes Law", The Times, London, October 2, 2000
"The Human Rights Act, which became law today (Monday), has been billed
as the most fundamental change to the justice system since the Magna Carta. For
the first time, enshrined in English law is a right to life and fair trial,
freedom from torture and degrading treatment, privacy, freedom of expression,
and freedom to marry and have a family. The Act will also mean an end to litigants
having to take the lengthy and costly road to pursue their claim at the European
Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg."
- The MUTCD, traffic management & speed humps
Florida says NO, Georgia in limbo
- Sign specifications from (MUTCD, 1988)
- Diamond shaped signs are only used "to warn of
existing or possible
hazards, either on or adjacent to roadway"
- Yellow signs are for
- The ethics of experimenting on humans ... without their consent
- Speed humps are
experimental devices (Los Angeles Times, 1-9-98)
- CFR Title 45 Public Welfare, Subtitle A - Department of Health and Human Services
Part 46 - Protection of Human Subjects
- "Common Rule" adopted by the
Department of Transportation
Based on 45 CFR 46 -
Revised: June 18, 1991 / Effective: August 18, 1991 / Revised/Reprinted: May 1996
OPRR Requests for Assurances to Comply with 45 CFR 46, May 17, 2000
THE NUREMBERG CODE, "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg
Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10", Vol. 2, pp. 181-182.
Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949
"1. The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. ..."
"4. The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary
physical and mental suffering and injury. "
"8.The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified
persons. The highest degree of skill and care should be required through all
stages of the experiment of those who conduct or engage in the experiment. "
"10. During the course of the experiment, the scientist in charge must be
prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probable cause to
believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill and careful judgement
required of him, that a continuation of the experiment is likely to result in
injury, disability, or death to the experimental subject. "
Noise increased by speed humps
"Humps and bumps can drive buyers away", The Times, David Rudnick,
September 20 2000
"... there is evidence that traffic-calming measures
may even reduce the investment value of a house or flat."
'They can have a negative impact if they degrade the
environment through causing more fumes and pollution,' says Leaf."
Road humps in particular can cause noise and fumes as drivers
brake and then accelerate away from them. This may not be immediately
apparent when prospective buyers call to see your residence, but if
they find themselves stuck behind a bus or delivery vehicle on the way
they will notice all right."
- "The Coming
War on the Automobile, The Thoreau Institute
"Auto users have been made to feel so guilty about
their desire for safe, efficient, and convenient transportation that
they often accept the congestion offered by New Urbanists as
their just desserts."
Residents grump over speed bumps, The Orlando Sentinel,
Jon Steinman, August 07, 2000
"Some people hate the Lake Price speed bumps so much that
they`ve taken to honking their horns in disgust whenever passing
over one of them, something Lake Price residents claim was dreamed
up by nearby homeowners` associations to shatter
the neighborhood`s quiet."
Do-It-Yourself Speed Humps
- DIY Installation
"Things that go bump in the night",
The Sunday Funnies website by Bill Becwar. (Scroll to penultimate item.)'
"...a Pennsylvania highway road crew re-paved
state road 895 directly over a dead deer that was laying in the
road near the town of Andreas." - LA Times -AP, August 23, 1996
- DIY Removal
Urban resistance or urban legend?
"...if the bump/hump is made of asphalt you can pour gasoline on
it and that will slowly soften it and cars will do the rest."
| Fire & EMS
1998 - 2001
July 4, 1998 / last update: April 22, 2001 (Version 1.s)