Ramping up

A day or two ago I was walking down a road in Dublin with a friend. Behind us we could hear the all-too-familiar sound of a car revving up and racing down the road at a speed that was no doubt twice the permitted limit. As it passed us we could see the driver grinning wildly as he roared past in his 1990s Mazda sports car. But what was remarkable about this scene was that it was played out on a road that, like so many Dublin roads, had ramps (speed bumps) all down it. As he raced over each ramp his head must have hit the car roof, and goodness knows what this was doing to the car; well, what it wasn’t doing was slow it down.

I don’t believe I have ever come across a town or city with so many ramps as in Dublin. First they started to appear on residential roads, no doubt as a device to slow traffic down and thereby protect other road users, including pedestrians and children. But after a while they began to appear everywhere, and were just as likely to be found on major thoroughfares.

I suspect there is hardly a car in Ireland with its suspension intact – they have all been shaken and bumped to pieces by the hurdles they have to cross on every road. I am also beginning to wonder whether there are people whose backs or spines have been similarly affected. Of course I understand the thinking behind this policy, and agree that road safety must trump comfort and the protection of suspensions. And yet I wonder whether we have taken all this too far. Indeed the sight of the mad young man in his Mazda now makes me wonder whether ramps actually achieve their intended purpose. Quite apart from what all this stop-start driving must do to fuel consumption.

Arguing against a method to slow down cars is not easy, but Irish roads are bumpy enough at the best of times as road repairs are not our strong suit.  Let us just say that I won’t be terribly sad if we have somewhat fewer of these bumps on our roads in future.

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4 Comments on “Ramping up”

  1. Jilly Says:

    Our car has been damaged by speed-bumps (and no, it was not speeding as it went over them!). The worst ones I know of are on Anglesea Road, especially the one which had an enormous (even by Dublin standards) pot-hole right next to it for about a year. So you went up over the speed-bump and then down into the pot-hole with a horrible crunch…the only alternative was to swerve into the middle of the road as you went over the speed-bump, which everyone started doing to avoid the pot-hole but which was of course horribly dangerous.

  2. Frank Says:

    The worst road that I can think of for ramps runs from DCU’s Ballymun Road entrance to Carpark 3.

    17 ramps in a 1km stretch.


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