Linda Colling: Getting the hump

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NO surprise to me that a resounding 80 per cent who responded to the Echo’s daily poll don’t want speed humps.

There’s too many of them and the overriding question is: Do they make a happ’orth of difference? Certainly not to reckless drivers. But what misery they cause to those of us with bad backs.

There’s now so many no-go areas for me in Sunderland. Hylton Road is a nightmare and I avoid it at all costs. On Thornholme Road at least you can straddle the humps, unlike Seaham seafront which is a total nightmare – too many, too high.

One friend has no alternative but to drive over them four times a day with her four-year-old, who has said he’d like to write a letter to the council complaining.

I’m delighted to say that those in Mount Road who did just that have been listened to and now instead of humps, speed cushions are to go in. But I understand that’s just in Mount Road not Ewesley Road, Colchester Terrace or Cleveland Road.

There seems to be an obsession for these humps. A key reason seems to be that it will be safer for children at Barnes schools. I’d rather see speed cameras. They do deter – even the idiots.

Comments posted on the Echo website after our story of the 42-year-old woman and chronic back pain sufferer who lives on Mount Road, included this one: “speed bumps do NOT deter the speeders! Only the careful drivers suffer ... physical pain, damage to cars suspension and constantly having to pay to have wheels balanced.

“This council sticks these useless humps everywhere regardless. How about fenced chicanes or posted curb extensions? Speeding drivers would slow down rather than actually hurt themselves!”

Another wrote them off as “a complete waste of money. The only people that benefit are those who service and repairs cars. The cost of motoring is increased substantially. Forget them and use more mobile cameras.”

Too many areas are giving us the hump. In my road they certainly weren’t needed. Speeding motorists aren’t the problem but potholes certainly are.

I’ve never heard one neighbour complain about speeding. Indeed, we are all united in our opposition to them but unlike residents in some areas we did not form a local residents group to complain.

But would we have been listened to, given in 2005 the city council was swamped with letters and petitions from objectors in the Mount Road and Henderson Road areas to a massive programme that included more than 100 speed bumps on their streets.

They said parking overspill from the hospital was their biggest problem.

Speed humps have caused accidents and serious injuries. In 2001 in Isleworth a motorcyclist who hit a speed hump at much less than 30mph, was left paralysed from the waist down.

A Kendal man riding in the back of a bus suffered two broken vertebrae and spinal damage resulting in paralysis when it went over a hump.

As a deterrent to speed merchants who use our streets as rat runs, they make no difference. But, for those of us who find them a painful problem they work by diverting us any other way but over them.