Speed humps are used to control the speed of traffic. Most people accept that the number of people who break the speed limit in built-up areas is the main reason for the number of road accidents. We receive many requests for the installation of speed ups.
They are purpose made bumps in the road, built so that drives have to maintain low speeds when driving over them and they are usually built in series so that low speeds will be maintained throughout the area.
We follow government guidelines on the size and positioning of humps. Results prove that new schemes will reduce accidents by about 60% and they are particularly effective in reducing accidents to child pedestrians and cyclists in residential estates.
We would but most accidents happen on 'A' and 'B' class roads which are the busiest and most important roads in the highway network. These busier roads carry more heavy vehicles as well as buses and are also very important for emergency services, therefore some roads are unsuitable for speed humps.
We have provided traffic calming around schools and near to children's play areas. There need not be accidents in these areas before we can promote the scheme, but where there are accidents, such areas would be given priority.
The main reason people give is that the hump allegedly damaged their vehicle. This should not happen, provided the humps have been properly built and that they are driven over at appropriate speeds.
Another reason is that they cause inconvenience to drivers who have to slow down. This is more of a problem for the emergency services that need to be able to travel quickly to all parts of the City. Emergency service operators are always consulted before we build speed humps schemes.
Cameras are more effective on the busier 'A' and 'B' class roads where speed humps are less appropriate. They are very expensive, particularly in respect of police time. At present, the police would have difficulty in supporting an extension to the existing system of enforcement cameras due to limitations on their resources.
We usually consult people who are directly affected by a speed hump proposal by letter, so that residents, emergency services, bus operators and others will be asked for their views.
Following this initial consultation, assuming that we still want to go ahead with scheme, then the proposal will be advertised in the press and in notices on the affected streets. Objections will be considered by us, which has to try and balance any benefits of the proposed scheme against any points raised by objectors.
In order to avoid the situation where drivers allow down for a hump then simply speed up again, speed humps have to be quite closely spaced. By keeping speeds more even, road safety is improved as well as noise and other emissions.
We can now make 20 mph speed limits. It costs money to do this and it has been shown that such speed limits, without other measures to slow people, have very little effect on traffic speeds.
There are about 1,000 injury accidents reported to the police each year on the city's roads. Due to this and resource limitations it is not possible to take action at every point on the highway where an accident might happen. Therefore it is very unlikely that we will agree to a speed-hump scheme, at present, without accidents to justify the cost.
The government has recognised this in its road safety strategy document, Tomorrows roads: safer for everyone:
"These measure can be very effective in reducing road deaths and injuries, particularly for children, cyclists and pedestrians. Nevertheless it will be some time before local authorities can treat all the roads prone to safety problems, let along those where there is a perception of danger."