Our campaign aims to correct the notion held by many road authorities that road-humps are a "good thing". We believe that in most places where they have been installed they do more harm than good, and that where traffic calming measures are genuinely needed road-humps should be a solution of last resort, not first.
We object to road-humps because they cause pain and distress to people with joint problems, they hinder emergency vehicles, cause vehicles to use more fuel and emit more pollution, damage exhaust systems and suspensions, create shock-waves that crack buildings, are ugly, distort traffic flows, cause road-rage and encourage dangerous driving.
"Who cares?", the hump-enthusiasts mutter, "... as long as they slow vehicles down". If they were the only way of slowing vehicles down (which they are not) or if they were the best way (which they are not) and if it were essential or desirable to slow vehicles down (which it is often not) then who would care?
In October 1995 Haringey Council installed 35 road humps in what appeared to be randomly selected roads in the Miltons area of Highgate, North London. There had been no history of accidents, speeding or excessive traffic flow through most of these streets, but a handful of anti-car residents had lobbied the Council to install humps. Also, traffic-calming funding was available from central government - which if not used immediately would be lost.
The streets were not in fact random but chosen on the basis of a questionnaire asking residents if they wanted humps in their street. The Council subsequently admitted that the survey had been misleading and the results were unreliable. Once the flat-topped tarmac humps were in place it was immediately clear that they were unusually vicious, many indeed illegally so - which Haringey initially denied. Worse, for some weeks they lacked the legally required markings. Sadly, if predictably, the humps - practically invisible at night - soon claimed their first victim: a woman cyclist whose facial injury required seven stitches.
Haringey remained unmoved by this or by the numerous phone calls, letters and faxes pleading with them to have the humps removed, or at the very least marked. Only several weeks after the humps had been installed did they at last do so. But they continued to deny that the humps were illegal.
CARM was founded by a group of concerned residents on 26 February 1996. On 25 March 1996 they complained to the Local Government Ombudsman. It was not until 24 April 1996, under questioning from the Ombudsman, that the Borough Engineer at last admitted that 27 of the 35 humps were of illegal dimensions.
With cars being regularly damaged and compensation claims rolling in, Haringey went into a state of inertia. And so did the Ombudsman. Eventually Haringey decided to carry out a second consultation. The forms, sent out in December 1996, were even more confusing and misleading than the original ones, but still it seemed that a clear majority of residents wanted their humps removed.
Then political in-fighting broke out. On 13 February 1997, Stuart Foster, the leader of Haringey Council's Highways & Safety Group, recommended the digging up of eight of the humps but this was rejected by Councillor Lucinda Arnold who claimed that the results of the consultation were "ambiguous" and insisted that further consultation be carried out. This confirmed that the majority of residents did indeed want their humps removed - but the Council was in no mood to listen.
Eventually the Council complied with its minimum obligation, modifying all the humps to make them legal. All, that is, except the one in the picture above: a fitting memorial to Haringey's incompetence.
Disabled people in America, some of whom are becoming housebound because humps make it too painful to use cars or buses, have set up their own anti-hump campaign RADA (Road Access for Disabled Americans). Their website is well worth visiting: just click on RADA
The contents of this page have been carefully researched and are believed to be accurate, but there may be inadvertent errors and readers are encouraged to make their own further enquiries.
page last modifed 13/7/00