I’m willing to concede that speed bumps can serve a legitimate purpose in some settings — perhaps even in parking lots — to deter recklessly fast driving and thereby to protect pedestrians and other drivers. But there is a difference between soft speed humps, which are more than adequate to serve the purpose, and harsh, obnoxious, jarring speed lumps, which are tough on a car’s shock absorbers and even tougher on my otherwise sunny disposition. If I had my way, those annoying lumps would be banned. Every mall that has installed them would be forced to rip them out and issue a public apology for having installed them in the first place.
But here’s what bothers me even more than the damned lumps. As a matter of principle, I drive over the lumps at a slow but steady pace; I refuse to treat them as a kind of subversive stop sign. But far too many others find the lumps — and even the humps — just too frightening to drive over. They feel the need to slow to 2 miles per hour as they approach the lump or hump, thereby forcing everyone behind them (and I’m almost always one of those behind them) to slow to the same ridiculous pace. It is bad enough that we must put up with the needless proliferation of humps and lumps in parking lots and other settings. Must we also accept the infuriating timidity of those who cannot bring themselves to drive over them at a rate of at least 5 miles an hour?