Speed bumps… or as they are known here in Mexico, topes, or speed reducers. At least those are the names I can use on a blog read by people of all ages. And just so you get the entire picture, I’m not talking about speed bumps in parking lots. I’m talking about the streets you need to travel every day.
If you’ve ever driven in Mexico, you know what I am talking about. It’s like they are everywhere. In front of schools, before traffic lights, every couple of miles, in front of your favorite taco stand.
Yesterday I was on a national highway, traveling about 10 kilometers to the airport here in Oaxaca. I counted, and by the time I arrived, my little car, a Tracker, had negotiated 15 of these suspension, axle breaking wonders.
It’s hard to believe that a country beset with about a million and half pot holes, many big enough to swallow your car, would even need speed bumps, but apparently, they do. Why else would I find them on dirt roads in some of the most obscure colonias you can imagine.
At least they warn you… most of the time. I mean seriously, you’ve gotta love a government that actually has a traffic sign that says “Zona de Topes” or “Speed Bump Zone”. How benevolent of them.
Now for most of you, you just have no idea what these things can do to your car. These are not those gradual inclines you might find in the more genteel areas of the US. Some are just four inch galvanized pipe covered in concrete to make them even more deadly to your front end alignment.
Perhaps the worst are the yellow bumps. Seemingly 2 foot tall bumps spaced perfectly so that they totally lastimar, or beat the snot out of, your little car.
I’ve often wondered if the government gets a kickback from the suspension and shock absorber companies for all the work that comes in as a result of these concrete and steel wonders. Think about it… this set of speed bumps is brought to you by Amortiguadores Garcia.
As I’ve thought about it, I think I understand why there are just so many of these darns things across Mexico.
They slow traffic down and are cheaper and require less upkeep than police.
Think about that for a few moments. A speed bump is like those infomercial cookers. Buy it, and forget about it!
But the police? Well that’s another story. Both the government, and the people have to continue paying that guy. Through his regular salary, and his, shall we say, commissions.
I guess in the end, the trade off is not too bad. We get reduced speeds, especially in school zones, lower government costs for policing and fewer bribes, or, as they are known here… mordidas.
All in all, perhaps a good trade off. Somedays though I just get fed up with all the suspension killing, muffler scraping buttons, mountains, pipes, hills and everything else we’ve come to know and love as topes here in My Mexico!