Bikers and fast drivers dislike them, neighborhoods and parents of small children love them.
Speed bumps can be found throughout the city and campus of Davis in order to slow down students and residents to a safe speed. Variations on these concrete speed reducers include the speed hump, speed cushion and the speed table.
Roxanne Namazi, senior civil engineer in charge of Traffic and Transportation for the City of Davis, is the city’s expert on traffic control.
She said that speed humps have a rounded top, speed tables have a flat top and speed bumps are used only in parking lots.
Tables are most frequently found on well-trafficked streets and are friendlier on buses and fire trucks. Speed humps, on the other hand, are found on local streets with low volumes of traffic. Speed cushions are meant to accommodate fire trucks and have an opening that is as wide as the fire truck axel.
Roundabouts are another popular method of controlling traffic in Davis, most commonly found on campus.
“Wherever we need a traffic signal, we look at using a roundabout” said Namazi. “They are less expensive for maintenance and installation, and traffic doesn’t have to stop and is always moving through them.”
Namazi said these speed control methods have been effective in keeping the streets of Davis safe. According to studies of areas with traffic calming bumps, speed was dropped five to six miles per hour.
To those who find those concrete humps and tables irritating, Namazi said they should still slow down for the betterment of their community.
“Everyone has to be vigilant about their neighborhood streets, we shouldn’t have to put out these traffic calming devices to slow people down,” she said. “We could put humps in all streets but we shouldn’t have to, people should know they need to slow down not speed up.”
Sharadha Naidu, a junior neurobiology, physiology and behavior major, said that she always makes sure to slow down in neighborhoods and for speed bumps.
“At first I thought speed bumps where kind of annoying, but for the safety of everyone and the safety of the neighborhood, they’re good,” she said.
Naidu knows several people who have been hurt by cars speeding in residential areas, and she said this has made her embrace slower traffic.
“When an accident [involving speeding] happens to someone you know, then you’re OK with the speed bumps,” Naidu said.
Campus speed safety
The bike roundabouts on campus can be confusing at first for both freshmen and upperclassmen. Lieutenant Matt Carmichael of the UC Davis Police said they can also be a dangerous site for bike accidents. Although campus is mostly free from speeding cars, bike collisions, especially near roundabouts, are not uncommon.
“For the campus police, a lot of our focus is on bike accidents and bike violations,” Carmichael said.
Bike collisions are the majority of collisions on-campus while vehicle accidents typically take place in the parking lots, he said.
There are signs of change with bike safety on campus.
“The bike officer program has helped,” Carmichael said. “It’s changed biking etiquette on campus.”
There have been 550 bike stops this year to date, and the campus police have been increasing the amount of cycling education that they do. They have increased rule enforcement and reward correct biking behavior.
With a new warning citation, UC Davis Police is working to ensure a safer campus for bike traffic. Instead of receiving a traffic citation, an offender will obtain an official warning that is entered into a database. Carmichael said he hopes this new system will educate cyclists while allowing them to avoid traffic citations, which cost $100 or more.
For those who aim to avoid a collision on campus roundabouts, there are rules to follow Carmichael said. Slow traffic should yield to faster traffic and those outside the roundabout should yield to those in it first.
Carmichael said although bike circles on campus may seem like the primary location for bike collisions, poor biking habits can lead to other types of collisions including cyclists riding on sidewalks or striking a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
KELLY KRAG-ARNOLD can be reached at email@example.com.