There are not too many certainties in life. But on Montreal streets there is one: drivers have been speeding ever since the asphalt was dry. Day and night, weekday and weekend, year after year, cars have exceeded the posted speed limit, although usually not by a lot.

That being said, how many speeding related accidents have there been on our residential or side streets (before speed bumps)? For example, on Wilson, Einstein, Dufferin, or de la Peltrie, how many children, adults, cyclists, parked cars, or houses have been hit by speeding cars in the past thirty years? Probably none. Thirty years of speeding yet rarely, if ever, an accident, and these four streets now have speed bumps. Does this make sense?

Speed bumps reduce speeding, but they are placed to prevent accidents. How will speed bumps make streets safer that have accident rates of zero? They won't, because time has shown these streets are safe, and their drivers are far from reckless. Speed bumps may be useful in parking lots, school zones, or on sharp curves, but there's no convincing data elsewhere. The outcome we need to measure for safety is accidents, not speeding. No reduction in accident rates, no real benefit.

Is there a downside to speed bumps? You bet. Bumpy drives, increased GHG emissions, slowing of emergency vehicles, risk of personal injury, driver anger with speeding between and after bumps, ugly scenery, and cost of construction and maintenance. An elderly driver could even lose control on a speed bump and end up on the sidewalk. So, the benefits are questionable and the side effects very problematic. I would say speed bumps are not a good remedy for safety.

Those against speed bumps do not condone speeding. We want safe streets just like anyone else, and want drivers to observe speed limits. But we want tax dollars going towards projects that actually make a difference. We need policing with smart technologies to control speeding, not archaic solutions that slow us to a crawl for nothing. Let the police carry on with the good work they have been doing for decades, that also increases municipal revenue. A speed trap on one street protects the whole neighborhood.

CDN-NDG plans 80 new speed bumps over the next few months, which add to the nearly 500 placed over the past four years. Maybe the borough can explain how it decides which streets get speed bumps, as I doubt accident rates are a determining factor. Let's put our limited tax dollars towards services that actually improve safety, like road repair, snow removal, bike paths, etc. Residential streets are safer than our politicians think, and speed bumps do more harm than good.

Norman Sabin


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