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Never mind the potholes – blame the speed bumps

By Kyle Linsay
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 17:00

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John Cameron

Speed bumps are likely to cost motorists a £250 repair bill on average

Out-dated traffic calming measures costing motorists hundreds in repairs

Motorists living in areas where roads are ‘calmed’ by speed bumps are more likely to have to pay an average £250 repair bill for broken suspension, cracked exhaust systems and smashed trim on their cars.

These are the findings of a national car leasing company that says local authorities should instead invest in alternative measures to slow down traffic rather than those which punish drivers.

The report comes off the back of research conducted by Flexed.co.uk, who say that many housing estates are still living with the legacy of ill-thought out speed bumps that inflict regular damage in an attempt to make them drive slower.

“Speed bumps are out-dated and it’s pretty much accepted that they don’t make a great deal of difference,” says Flexed spokesperson Mark Hall. “Spend any amount of time on a road with old ‘full-width’ speed bumps, and you’ll see cars going hell for leather between them, only slowing down to cross the obstacle.”

The comments from Flexed come after a study published by Warranty Direct in October 2014 found that the average bill for damage caused by speed bumps was £247, with drivers of some makes looking at bills of over £1,000. Even cars with the most robust of suspension systems have a 1/30 chance of suffering suspension damage because of speed bumps and potholes, the same study said.

It’s clear that local authorities need to investigate alternative solutions to speed bumps that slow down traffic, but don’t damage cars or unnecessarily delay emergency vehicles. Some of the more viable alternatives include:

  • Smart bumps – that are islands of ‘bump’ in a road that slow cars but not buses and emergency vehicles. They still require care as they can still catch the underside of cars even at low speeds
  • Chicanes which make drivers think about their speed and their driving line rather than put their foot down. These make more sense in 20mph zones because they force drivers to keep a steady look-out
  • Imaginative parking and lane narrowing schemes: These require little road engineering, but make drivers slow down due to obstacles provided by parking bays. An ideal way to make existing cars force traffic to slow down

“Speed bumps punish law-abiding drivers and it’s time they were phased out,” says Flexed.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall. “You just need to look at how the problem is tackled by the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany to see non-destructive ways of limiting speeds.”

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