Monday, February 07, 2011

Sleeping policemen

I don’t go down the Hatta Road beyond Big Red very often. And by motorbike even less frequently than that. So last Friday when I found myself following a fellow biker through Madam at 120kph I began to suspect that we were both grossly exceeding the speed limit and I slowed down. But no; despite Zebra crossings and roadside shops, the posted limit is 120kph. So that’s alright then.

There’s no excuse for putting a solitary vicious speed hump a couple of hundred metres from Madam roundabout. Yes, presumably there is a need to get traffic speeds down before the roundabout, but how about some progressive signage? 100kph, then 80kph, then 60kph? How about sticking to the design standards that control the width and height of speed bumps?

No, what we get is one speed bump that briefly turned my bike into a bucking bronco rodeo ride. There were no warning signs (perhaps they’ve been stolen or demolished), and although the bump had originally been painted with cheap yellow emulsion so that it wouldn’t be invisible, that had worn off.

At least with the roundabout approaching, I had slowed from 120kph to about 80 when I actually hit the speed bump.

Anyway, why don’t I take this road very often? Because of the border controls beyond Madam. The road crosses part of Oman where the Sultanate bizarrely loops north into the UAE, so all motorists get to stop and identify themselves.

“You have Emirates ID?”


“OK, go.”

At the re-entry into Dubai near Hatta it wasn’t nearly so straightforward. I had to rummage in my pocket, remove gloves, extract ID card, replace ID card, don gloves... So I was doing about 0.2kph over the speed bump when I heard the clang from the bike’s undercarriage. I thought I’d hit the exhaust, but it turned out I’d scraped the sump. There’s a protective plate cast into the sump that protects the oil drain plug from damage, and this plate had taken the impact. Numerous scars on the concrete suggest I wasn’t the first. I think 130mm is excessively high for a speed bump. Again I say: how about sticking to the design standards?

The signage, together with uniformed guys toting machine guns ought to be enough to get drivers to slow down. There’s no real need to destroy their vehicles.

Incidentally, there are numerous little roadside shops on this stretch of road. So why is the speed limit 120kph where people wander at random across the road and motorists pull in without warning to buy terracotta horse’s heads or inflatable giraffes?

“Because it’s a limit, not a target.”

So what possible logic is there if the same emirate then imposes an 80kph limit on the dead-straight Academic City Road (for example) that is for the most part in the middle of nowhere?

Logic: yet another thing that is Not Coming In Dubai™.



Martín said...

I would also fall asleep if I had an ST1300!!!
SportTourer... yeah, right.

Dave said...

Yet another reason (amongst the other 50,000) that I am glad I am leaving Dubai next week - this place is third world with a first world facade.... that will continue to trick people for decades to come....


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