Anger over mass speed bump introduction in Enfield
All but one of 15 20mph zones installed or planned in the borough will use speed bumps, despite the council’s policy to only use them as a last resort.
Eight of the zones around schools, a key part of Enfield Labour’s manifesto in the 2010 election, have already been installed and seven more – all with speed bumps – will be put in during the next year, the Enfield Independent can reveal.
The council’s stated policy is that bumps are used to enforce the speed limit “only if all other measures have been considered and ruled out as either inappropriate or ineffective”, with roundabouts, chicanes, gateways and cameras supposed to be preferred.
But planned zones around Albany Park, Turkey Street, Firs Farm, Oakthorpe Road, Green Road, Westpole Avenue and Winchmore Hill will all use the bumps.
Enfield Independent readers have complained in droves about the spread of the bumps, with arguments ranging from suspension damage to increased danger from cars swerving into the middle of the road, although some have defended the measures.
Councillor Chris Bond, cabinet member for environment, defended the policy, saying that the bumps were necessary to stop an “irresponsible minority” of drivers, and that casualties had reduced by more than 50 per cent in two of the zones that used them.
He said: “It is impossible to introduce 20mph zones without introducing a method of regulating traffic speeds and the most cost-effective and acceptable form of traffic calming is speed humps.
“The vast majority of residents are in favour of 20mph zones and speed humps are shown to reduce vehicle speeds and the number of people hurt or killed on roads which have them.
“Their other advantage over other types is that large vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances can straddle them, enabling them to get to an emergency promptly.”
He added the council was open to ideas to other measures, but that he thought they were unpopular with residents because they reduce parking space.
But cyclist Mike Fase, of Edenbridge Road, said the proliferation of the bumps made it difficult for him when navigating around parked cars, or trying to ride over them.
He said: “When the speed humps are installed either in threes or twos, the cars that are commonly parked across the inner part of the humps mean that the cyclist has to go between the gaps either toward or in the centre of the road.
“He or she then either holds up following vehicles or goes head-to-head with oncoming traffic – given the impatience of drivers getting involved with them can be fatal.”
The use of speed bumps has been a subject of political disagreement for more than ten years, with the Conservative administration ripping up many of them that were installed in the 1990s.
Councillor Terry Neville, environment spokesman, said: “It really is a scandal waiting to happen, and we do need to wake up the residents to what’s going to happen by 2014.
“It’s another example of Cllr Bond changing the policy by the back door again, without going to the cabinet.
“Speed bumps do very little indeed and there’s very little evidence that they do much to reduce accidents or catch bad drivers. The reality is that this money would be better spent on additional traffic policing.”