Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bike Week: Hump City

Hump day in Hump City, can the world get any better. I really thought the city was crazy when it started placing humps in the residential neighborhoods. Why not just have Pomona PD patrol the streets and ticket the offenders? Sounds great in principle, but the reality of traffic enforcement is a cruel one. The city of Pomona has 400 miles of roads and nine motor officers to enforce the traffic code (per city website). I'll let you do the math, but at least in physical presence, I think we can all agree that as 24/7 impediments to speeding, humps have won this battle hands down. As for the origin of speed humps, this article from UC Berkeley suggests they started in England and were affectionately referred to as "sleeping policemen." Throw in the "sleeping policemen" and Pomona may just double the size of its police force.

Whether the speed humps actually slow the vehicles down probably depends on the type of vehicle and the owner's respect for his/her vehicle. From my experience, the cars do appear to be traveling slower, but I have no before/after data to support the assertion.

Does it really matter if I drive 30mph in a 25mph zone? The following info appeared in a publication of the Australian Academy of Sciences.
  1. This math problem revolves around Sam. A typical little kid who doesn't always look both ways before riding his bike into the street.
  2. On this day, Sam doesn't see the two cars traveling toward him. Car #1 is plodding along at the 24mph just under the speed limit while car #2 is traveling a little faster at 30mph.
  3. When Sam enters the street, both drivers are paying attention and see Sam at the same time. Sam is about 25 yards up the road.
  4. If we assume an average reaction time, the driver of car #1 can stop in about 75 feet (55 feet to apply the brakes and another 20 feet to stop the car) just missing lucky, little Sam.
  5. With a similar reaction time, the driver of car#2 won't leave Sam so lucky. By traveling 6mph faster, the driver will be only 7 feet away from Sam when he first hits the brakes, and at the point of impact, the car will still be traveling 22 mph. Even after hitting Sam the car won't come to a complete stop for another 25 feet.
Although Sam probably won't die from this impact, he most certainly will visit a hospital. Add on another 5 mph and Sam might not be so lucky since at 35 mph the driver would strike Sam before his foot could even depress the brake pedal. Next time you're about to cross the street consider that the likelihood of a fatality in a pedestrian collision rises from 5% at 20mph to 40% at 30mph and 80% at 40mph (NHTSA).

Add a hump, save a life!


meg said...

What, not even a single Fergie and/or Alanis Morissette crack? You disappoint me, Ed.

(For those not up on popular music, watch this first:
And then this:

Ed said...

but Meg, I don't get out much except on my bike, so I like to leave the trendy references to you.

I think I want a refund of the nearly four minutes that I spent watching the first video. Was it better with sound? The second link gave me a "malformed ID" message.

Garrett Sawyer said...

I love those humps, only problem with them is...if you don't have them on your street but the other streets around you do (my case), then people choose your street to speed down. lol. Just the other day some fool kept speeding up and down our street, for what reason? I don't know but it was late at night and I heard screeching around the block and then him going down our street. He did that more than a few times. Also, what good are the humps when the real action (people making donuts) is in the street intersections (also my case)? lol.

Garrett Sawyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Garrett Sawyer said...

We seem to get lots of traffic around here because lots of dumb people think theres a freeway on-ramp around here....haha. There's even a sign up Fremont st. that says there is no freeway entrance to the 71 ahead, something to that effect. lol.

*edit: god, I'm the dumb one, I can't even type out dumb correctly. lol*

K said...

I'm still kind of scratching my head over the presence of the humps on, say, Jefferson. I invariably take Jefferson and Alvarez through the neighborhood, 'cause there are no stop signs between Palomares and Garey, in stark contrast to Lincoln and Columbia. Presumably that's by design.

If you want to slow things down, why not put in stop signs, rather than those tail-pipe dinging humps? They really are at the top of my list of pet peeves, although I might feel differently if I lived on Jefferson.

Thanks, though, for the timely reminder to slow down, Ed. It's good to remember that taking an extra 30 seconds to get through the neighborhood is a small price to pay for peace and quiet and safety.

Anonymous said...

At the last Neighborhood watch meeting we were told that the humps have to be petitioned by the block that they are put in (I think the guy from the city said that 60% have to agree to it).
Also, he said that speed bumps cost roughly $2500 each while stop signs cost $250 each.
The general jist of the meeting told me that you can expect alot more stop signs in Lincoln Park to slow people down on streets like Jefferson.

me said...

AT $250 a pop, having all four corner stops throughout Lincoln Park would be a good idea and less ambiguous to people not familiar with the area.

Palomares around the park is a problem, but for some reason officers seem to only ticket further down Palomares at Kingsley.

I've never had much of an opinion either way on speed bumps.

G of P

Ed said...

I'm all for stop signs, if they'll install them. Mark is right about the hump petition and the majority rules. A downloadable form was on the city's website.

As for Jefferson street, would you be surprised if I told you that I had clocked cars exceeding 40mph in that stretch (I'm geeky enough to have a radar gun). Palomares by the park is another trouble area. I've found low 30's are common, even though the posted speed is 25mph. As I did more research, I became a quick convert on the benefits of speed humps. The better built cars of today have lulled drivers into a feeling of control that isn't justified. Spending $40000 for that new sports car doesn't improve your reflexes.

Sorry about the tailpipe thing. My wife's car has no problem, but the SUV is quite an experience.

I have a few more days of bike week left so bear with me. Still to come: is Pomona bike friendly, and Safe Routes to School funding.

calwatch said...

And I'm the punk that drives on the speed bumps at full speed (when I'm the only person in the car). The modern speed humps are nicer on the newer cars but I always drive 25 over them (and ignore the dip signs on Gibbs and Jefferson for a nonexistent dip, which were placed for no good reason one day when I was still in elementary school). Palomares used to be signed for 35, and should still be signed for 35. It is more of a collector-feeder street. I routinely go 35 or so on Palomares.

Anonymous said...

Well, Calwatch 35 mhp will get you a $85 ticket on Palamares.
Believe me, I know from experience.

calwatch said...

I'm not sure when the last engineering survey was on Palomares. The times I drive on there are not during peak cop times anyway.