Speed bumps and traffic calming

Information about the road safety schemes such as speed bumps, chicanes, 'sleeping policemen' and other speed management measures we use.

Traffic calming measures and road engineering schemes are designed to reduce the number of traffic collisions and injuries by slowing down the speed of vehicles along dangerous stretches of road.

There are two types of scheme:

  • highway improvements schemes, such as right-turn lanes at junctions, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings; and
  • traffic calming measures, such as road humps, speed bumps, speed cushions, chicanes and mini-roundabouts.

We keep records of road collision statistics across North Yorkshire. If we notice an area where accidents take place frequently, we look at whether introducing traffic calming measures might reduce speed and help reduce the risk of accidents. Our engineers decide which type of scheme would be best for each situation.

Once we have installed speed bumps, lights, a turning lane or other improvements, we check back regularly to see if the scheme has been successful and if the number of accidents has reduced.

More information

Speed bumps, road humps or even sometimes known as sleeping policemen, traffic schemes involving raising a small area of the road surface are the most common and the most effective traffic calming feature.

While they can be effective, they are not always the best solution to a speeding problem. Some of the disadvantages are:

  • they can be difficult for cyclists or motorcyclists to navigate;
  • local residents can complain about noise and sometimes vibration caused by lorries;
  • the road humps, street painting and sign change the character of a street;
  • they can be painful to drive over for the elderly or those in pain; and
  • they can cause serious problems for the emergency services, both reducing speed, and causing discomfort for ambulance patients.

A speed cushion is an alternative form of road hump which may help reduce these problems. Speed cushions are a smaller, square bump in the road which does not cross the whole road, meaning that buses and lorries are wide enough for their wheels to pass either side.

Sometimes it is better to look at other solutions, such as lighting, pedestrian crossings, speed enforcement, signage. That's why it is helpful to report speed concerns to us instead of making a more specific request.

There are two ways we identify sites for new schemes:

  • we identify areas with high numbers of accidents and collisions
  • through your parish council, you let us know about a street you're concerned about

Road safety schemes are expensive to install. We have to make sure we use our resources wisely. That's why we are usually only able to do something where there have been several collisions in the past, and we need to deal with the most dangerous sites first.

Parish and town councils have an important role to play. If we receive a request from a member of the public, we always ask parish councils for their opinion before we go any further.

We would ask therefore that you contact your parish council first. You will need to give them your contact details, as well as information about the road you are concerned about and why you feel it needs traffic calming measures.

Contact your parish clerk

You may also wish to report drivers routinely breaking the speed limit, or request traffic lights or a pedestrian crossing.

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