Driving on Bengaluru’s roads is hazardous, given its heavy traffic, two-wheeler riders and car drivers. Added to this nuisance is badly built speedbreakers, which not only give one a bumpy ride, but also pose a danger to their health. With neither the BBMP nor the traffic police willing to take full responsibility for their haphazard presence in the city, Bengalureans continue to be at risk from these unscientifically designed humps on the roads, reports Mujahid Deputy and Aknisree Karthik
“Between the Panchamuki Anjaneya temple and the Ayappa temple in Azad Nagar, there are speedbreakers at every junction. There are more than five speedbreakers on this stretch alone and all of them are unscientific. Who decides to put them there ? If we drive over them the base of the car touches the hump and damages it,” complains Mr Raghavendra, a resident of Azad Nagar, close to the Mysore Road tollgate.
Unfortunately, he is only one of many Bengalureans who suffer speed humps placed haphazardly in their localities to the detriment of their vehicles and their spines.
Going by experts, most of the speedbreakers in Bengaluru have been laid in violation of the Indian Road Congress (IRC) guidelines, which mandate that road humps in residential areas should be 3.7 meter wide and 0.10 meter high, to make sure that the gradient is gradual and not abrupt. They are also supposed to be clearly visible with alternate black and white bands across them and arningw signboards placed 40 meters ahead on both directions, they note. But hardly ever are these guidelines followed as the humps are of all sizes, roughly put together at the whim of government agencies or even individuals and have no markings on them to make them visible, especially at night, leading to dangerous consequences at times, they regret.
Traffic and mobility expert, Dr. Ashish Verma observes that it is the general tendency in Bengaluru to introduce unscientific speed humps at random without taking the consequences into account. “What they lay are not speedbreakers, but vehicle or backbone- breakers,” he laments, adding that although speedbreakers are supposed to play a vital role in ensuring the safety of drivers, it is better not to have them at all than build them unscientifically and have them pose a threat to hundreds of drivers every day.
Ask the government agencies that are often responsible for building speedbreakers in the city and they shift the blame on each other. While BBMP officials say they lay speedbreakers at the request of the traffic police, the police claim they only suggest the locations where they could be helpful without specifying their dimensions. So if anybody is to be blamed, it’s not them, they shrug. Sadly, while this game of passing the buck carries on, the lives of many Bengalureans continue to be at risk in the city.
Unregulated speed humps a menace on city roads
If civic agencies are often to blame for unscientific road humps in the city, so are some overzealous Bengalureans. Observes Mr Ragha vendra a resident of Azad Nagar, “ In many areas, especially the residential lanes, the people themselves take the lead in laying the humps. They pool in some money and build the humps using cement. The locals decide that they need humps and insist on them being laid no matter whether the spot is near schools, temples or hospitals.”
A BBMP official too says that the city is riddled with hundreds of speedbreakers on both its main and the interior roads that have been randomly installed by locals. "Usually these speedbreakers do not come to the notice of the BBMP until some citizen complains or an accident takes place. We routinely conduct drives to remove such unscientific humps," he claims.
An official from the Traffic Engineering Cell of the BBMP adds, "Our job begins after the traffic police tells us where they need a speedbreaker to be laid. While laying it the work is executed as per the Indian Road Congress norms."
He also seemed to know the rules as he said once they were laid, the humps needed to be painted with white stripes, and signages placed 40 meters of them on both sides to warn the oncoming traffic about their presence But being aware of the rules and following them are clearly two different things.And it appears that it is in the latter that the civic agency fails a lot of the times.