Friday, April 23, 2010


We all maintain our own lists of Personal Pet Peeves - the things that piss us off on an almost daily basis - and mine is getting longer by the day. It is, perhaps, one of the signs of Advancing Old Age.

One item that’s on my list is the infamous Speed Bump.

Legend (or Wikipedia) has it that the speed bump first appeared in Chatham, New Jersey when the town installed crosswalks several inches above the road level in order to discourage speeders. When you consider that this was 104 years ago when the top speed of a typical automobile was something like 30 MPH, you can only speculate upon just how fast were these people going, anyway?

The purpose of the so-called Sleeping Policeman, of course, is to encourage traffic to slow down, be it on a road or in a parking lot. And while that is a worthwhile purpose, the folks who build and install these things are guilty of overreaching... because while the intention is (or should be) to keep traffic within a posted speed limit, most speed bumps these days seem to be designed to force drivers to come to an almost complete stop, lest they shatter their axles, pop their tires, or break their teeth. And to that, I say a hearty Fuck You.

If a posted speed limit is (say) twenty MPH and the Powers that Be deem that a speed bump is necessary to ensure that drivers don’t zoom by at forty-five, no problem. But fer Gawd’s sake, design the damned thing so that I can negotiate the thing at twenty. Do not force me to bring my car to a virtual standstill. This wastes fuel and chews up my brake pads. And heaven help the people whose house is on fire at the end of a long street full of speed bumps.

OK, that’s enough ranting on Matters Trivial. What’s pissing you off today?

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