Speed ramps have been designed to check top speed on our roads, especially at critical intersections on urban roads.
However, there is a growing trend where residents in various communities across the country put up ramps without recourse to city authorities.
Motorists say the phenomenon is posing a serious threat to road safety. They want the highways authority and the urban roads department to intervene.
This came up when I traveled around the country.
It was a pleasant ride through the countryside until the constant slumps into potholes stole my joy and eventually turned this journey into a nightmare.
Many of the roads in Bole Bamboi are riddled with potholes. If you are not wearing a seat belt, the road forces you to dance.
Attempts by some locals to control excessive speed by some drivers piqued my interest.
Residents had built sand mounds to act as speed ramps. According to Isaac Bamuonye, who spoke on behalf of the residents, too many people have died as a result of unauthorised mounting of speed ramps.
“Recently one of our fathers died in an accident here because of the speed ramps,” he said.
There were four of such mounds on the same stretch. However, the downpour has washed way away their efforts. But residents say they have a plan.
“We’re going to contribute to buy cement and do this properly…” And as if this was legal, he invited the government to help perpetuate the illegality.
Clearly, this was borne out of ignorance and a sheer desire to kill the speed and save lives.
When asked how oncoming vehicles could be warned to take precautions, Isaac said “we will put some tree branches on the road to warn drivers that something is happening here.”
The situation appears to be symptomatic of a bigger road safety concern.
The conundrum of ramps
Whereas this is designed to control speed and save lives, motorists are concerned about how this tool is being deployed and its adverse effect on night driving.
Further down in the Central Region town of Assin, a driver, Kofi Wusu, who plies the Assin- Cape Coast Road approached the team when he figured out what the story was about.
He is livid about what he describes as poor construction of speed ramps on that stretch.
“My problem is that there are no road signs to warn us, some of them just spring up. And ramps are not constructed per the standards of the highways authority, it is destroying our cars.
Kofi noted the nature of the ramps does not only affect their vehicles but also their health.
“We have developed waste pains as a result. This is bad. We plead with the authorities to remove them” Kofi added.
Kofi Wusu further accused the highways authority of dereliction of duty.
“The road markings are poor. The risk of a crash is very high. It appears the highway authority is not doing its work that is why residents have taken over. This is a shame”.
A passenger in his car, an elderly woman, added her voice.
“There’s one ahead of us. Many trucks fall off on that stretch. Imagine the harm it will cause to those nearby”.
But the residents here at Assin Dadeiso say the speed on that road is snuffing out lives, including children.
Later at Anomabo, we found this truck that has fallen on its side. An eyewitness to the accident tells JoyNews the truck lost balance whilst climbing the ramp. This he added is a common phenomenon.
“The Ramp is too high, especially on one side. So the truck tried to crossover on the lower side that is what happened. This happens very often. 5 cases alone in the past few months”
Aside from the nature of the ramps and the random construction, motorists say the absence of road signs worsens the situation.
On the Accra-Aflao road, JoyNews received reports of how a similar action had allegedly caused an accident.
Our cameras captured many ramps on the highway, not well-positioned road signs to warn motorists.
In 1953, Arthur Holly Compton, a renowned physicist and Nobel Prize winner, created a design for what he called a “traffic control bump.” Some people referred to the device as “Holly hump,” which was later changed to a speed bump.
Speed ramps as they have now come to be known, are effective in keeping vehicle speeds down. But Poorly-designed speed bumps that stand too tall or with too-sharp an angle can be disruptive for drivers and may be difficult to navigate for vehicles with low ground clearance, even at very low speeds.
So if citizens have no right to control the rate of speed on any stretch of road in the country, why are city authorities looking on whilst this continues?
The indiscriminate construction of speed ramps possess a serious threat to motorists.
Clearly, there’s a need for urgent action, because what was designed by Compton to save lives is gradually becoming a nemesis for road safety in Ghana.
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