After riding a bike for over two decades, Paul P L has now been restricted to his bed for the last three months. Suffering from an acute back pain, he was asked to take bed rest by doctors. Constant jerks and jumps navigating speed-breakers and potholes have now left him immobile.
“One morning when I was leaving to work, I felt a shooting pain in my lower back. Initially, I didn’t take it too seriously, but when the pain did not go I underwent an MRI scan which revealed a bulge in the lower back. The doctor has told me that I should never again ride a bike,” he says.
According to Paul, the chronic backache is the result of his long bumpy rides on the road. As a real-estate broker, he would take long journeys across the city. The speed-breakers and potholes have forced him to lose his livelihood.
“The speed- breakers on the road are so badly designed. Everytime you ride over them you are almost jumping in the air. Riding for long distances eventually takes a toll on the back. The civic body doesn’t care about the people. They construct them and forget about it. It is us who has to bear the consequences. Are they going to compensate me for the loss of livelihood now?” wonders Paul, who lives near Manyata Tech Park in Hebbal.
With roads across the city marked by unscientific and poorly planned speed-breakers, back pain and accidents have become far too common. The Indian Road Congress guidelines mandate that the speed-breakers be highlighted with paint and have reflectors for better visibility at night. It also mandates the placement of signboards cautioning motorists of an upcoming bump. But motorists in the city say they have rarely seen any of these guidelines being followed.
“On most roads, there are no signs warning us of a speed bump ahead. Where they are actually put up, the signs are barely four to five metres before the bump, which is too short a notice to slow down. Cars with low ground clearance tend to hit the bump damaging the vehicle,” says Subin Varghese, a Hebbal resident.
Varghese feels some roads would not need these bumps if they were designed scientifically. “The Outer Ring Road would not actually need them if they would have planned the link between the service road and the main road well. Now that they have constructed bumps they should also put reflectors on them,” says Varghese, who commutes daily between Hebbal and Marathahalli.
Many motorists also complain of irregular design and frequency of speed-humps in the city. Titu Zachariah recently had a fall while navigating a high speed-hump at Ramamurthynagar. “It was really high and the bike skid after the base hit the bump. The bumps need to be designed uniformly and their height needs to be regulated. Also, there are some roads in Banaswadi wherein a stretch of 500-metres we see at least four to five speed bumps. They are randomly constructed without putting much thought to the purpose they serve,” he says.
Joseph Mathew, a Vidyaranyapura resident, said these bumps eventually take a toll on the vehicle affecting their life. “These poorly designed bumps spoil the shocks of the vehicle and causes wear and tear in them. When there are humps too close to each other, they also affect the fuel efficiency of a vehicle.”
In Bhadrappa Layout, he says, “there is a point before crossing the railway line, where you are on an ascent and there are two speed-bumps one after the other. Bikes, especially the ones which are light in the front, lift off the ground while navigating them, almost doing a wheelie.”