Recently my local Tesco in Newmarket has added a speed bump to its car park. Okay, I admit that’s not the most attention grabbing opening line, but bear with me, dear blog reader, the reason for my rant will come clear soon enough.
Normally my opinion of this car wrecking Health & Safety Induced Hysteria is split between the supportive: “Well at least they slow down moronic boy racers, and in theory save lives,” and sheer anger: “Argh! More speed bumps screwing up my suspension and other stuff in my engine that doesn’t like being tossed around.”
Several years ago someone changed the terminology. Apparently SPEED bump implied going fast, zooming along, building up enough momentum to get over that pesky bump. These days they’re referred to as Traffic CALMING, which I guess is supposed to give our subconscious the message that these hindrances are there to make us happy, at ease, peaceful and full of tranquil intentions.
No. They’re still bumps.
And Tesco don’t seem to understand how annoying they are.
So today I’m not a happy bunny.
And I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one.
You see that photo up there? That’s my local Tesco. Traffic in, traffic out. A couple of islands and away you go. South to town. North out-of-town. And west (ish) through the industrial estate. Let’s zoom in on the actual car park.
You can plainly see the entrance to Tesco coming off the island at the bottom. The road bends to the right, goes straight then has a slight bend where you can turn immediately left to park or continue on to choose another lane. TWO stretches of road there for a speed bump.
A rational person might put one or maybe two speed bumps in the most obvious places, as below.
That makes sense doesn’t it, dear blog reader? Perhaps the one near the entrance is a bit too much given that traffic coming into the entrance off the island might be moving too quick, possibly still at 30mph, though I rarely take that turn at more than 10-15mph. However, placing a second one on the longer stretch certainly seems the logical choice.
Once traffic has left the road, turned right it has enough time to slow down and take one or more speed bumps at around 5-10mph. I guess you could position one closer to the second turn where the bend is more gentle, so traffic doesn’t have much room to speed up before entering actual car park.
So where did Tesco decide to put their speed bump?
As these images were taken from Google Maps there isn’t an up to date picture. So I’ll try to give you some idea of where the speed bump is.
You see that little black blob just under the ? at the end “…huh?”
That’s a car. It came in from the main road, followed the right to the right, then when it arrived at the gentle bend it had to turn hard left to enter the car park. You can’t make that turn at more than 5-10pmh, not unless you’re batcrap crazy anyway. Or stupid. That means that each wheel of the car hits the speed bump at a different time. Jostling the passengers around and causing unnecessary wear and tear on the car.
And it’s not much better leaving the car park. Instead of following the curve of the road you are now forced to bump each wheel over the speed bump, bouncing around in your car, and wondering if any of your fragile shopping has cracked/smashed/broken.
But this is no ordinary speed bump.
This monstrosity is wide as well as high.
5 reasons why I have such an issue with this speed bump.
# 1 – No warning for customers.
It would make sense to put up a sign or two stating that there’s a speed bump, or even a NEW speed bump. And it wouldn’t hurt to have a few 5MPH or 10MPH signs located near the entrance. I can’t quite remember if there are any and there’s a good reason for this. Check out the photo below, again taken from Google Maps so it’s not that up to date, although it really doesn’t look much different when I drove there today.
Can you see the problem? The entrance is festooned with adverts.
Buy our stuff!
Half price stuff!
Lot’s of stuff inside!
Offers and stuff!
No nice big speed limit sign. And if there is one now (I really can’t remember) it certainly isn’t going to stand out among that crap is it? A red sign with white lettering? It takes less than 10 seconds to turn that bend. Are drivers really going to pick out a speed limit sign there?
They’re busy thinking about shopping lists, petrol, screaming kids in the back seat, whether they brought their special Bag For Life bag, what to eat for dinner and will there be huge queues?
BUT a nice big 10MPH sign at the entrance would be more eye-catching. And why not add another half way along that longer section before the speed bump?
# 2 – Badly placed doesn’t even come close!
When I go over any other speed bump my front two wheels go first, in unison. Followed by my back two wheels, again in unison. It’s not pleasant but at least it’s consistent. I slow down, make my approach and feel safe knowing that my car can cope with the standard up and down, then up and down again as the back wheels roll over it.
I wonder if there’s someone in Tesco, or a Health & Safety Official somewhere, getting an earful from other customers complaining about this speed bump? I’ve been shopping at this particular Tesco for over 12 years but now I’m thinking maybe the ASDA around the corner is better because it’s more convenient to get to.
And that’s a good key word isn’t it? Convenient.
Maybe Tesco should look that up in the dictionary.
It doesn’t seem right that Tesco are forcing their customers over such a stupidly placed speed restriction device. Each time my car is jostled from side to side as if I’ve suddenly veered onto an all terrain course for 4X4’s. I actually wince when I go over it. That’s not a good shopping experience is it?
# 3 – Medical Lawsuit waiting!
If you had something wrong with you, a medical condition, slipped disk, bad back, injured joint etc, and you head on in to get your weekly shop, only to be forced over this speed bump, and then… “Oh, that’s painful. Oh my God! My back/shoulder/leg/knee/neck etc!”
Or perhaps you don’t notice at first, and later on you start feeling ill. Something must have knocked you about, but what?
The speed bump.
Because of its bizarre angle your car was bouncing all over the place.
Obviously for the sake of argument that’s quite dramatic and anyone with a serious medical problem perhaps shouldn’t be driving. However, isn’t it possible that such an awkward roll of a car can cause damage? Even at such a low-speed?
# 4 – Thanks for shopping at Tesco!
You’ve shopped. Bought your weekly grocery. Packed up the car. Ready to head home.
You slow at the bend, maybe even more cautious than when you arrived because you know that speed bump is dangerous.
Over you go.
Front right wheel first. Car lurches. You hear a clink.
Oops. Should be careful, don’t want to break my bottles/jars/vase/mirror/precious things. Your front left wheel goes up and over. Your car rocks back to level. Now you know that something has broken in the boot of your car. Great. Just what you need.
Back wheels hop over the bump – one at a time. Crack. Smash. That’s either shopping in the boot moving around way too much than it should OR something on your car has broken – wrenched free, cracked, shattered, sheered – whatever, the fact is that the speed bump has likely damaged your car or your shopping.
But more than that – with each visit you are growing more annoyed and less likely to shop at Tesco Newmarket.
# 5 – Would Tesco take a complaint seriously?
I doubt it. I could write them an email, for the attention of the manager. Word it well. Nice and neat. Approachable but forceful to get my point across. I could ask to speak to a manager in the store. There are plenty of staff around, customer advisers, supervisors and so on. However I get the feeling that should I ask about the speed bump my enquiry would be met with a wall of: “It’s there for your safety. Get used to it.”
Maybe I’d be directed to a website where I can make a complaint. In my experience that wouldn’t be given to the manager of that specific Tesco, but rather someone in a complaints department who doesn’t give a toss what I think.
If it angers me then I suspect it must anger other Tesco Newmarket shoppers too.
The Bottom Line.
Yes I understand the reason to slow down traffic in certain areas. These measures are put in place either due to an accident or a Health & Safety goon pointing out that some regulation or other means a Traffic Calming Measure MUST be implemented before anyone gets hurt.
However, the speed bump at Tesco Newmarket is a joke. I firmly believe it’s dangerous. I believe it makes shoppers angry. And because of this I chose to write about it here, partly for blog therapy, but partly because it’s possible someone else in my area will read this, agree with me, and maybe make a complaint of their own.
Next time I’m in that store I’ll enquire about the speed bump just to see what they say.
The fact remains that the speed bump at Tesco Newmarket has been put in the most idiotic place, without warning signs.
Reckon I’ll go shop at ASDA or Waitrose or Sainbury’s instead.
Save myself a headache.
And broken shopping/car/body etc!