Ban The Topes!

They’re a monument to failed policing

Ban the topes! Anyone who’s driven anywhere in Mexico is familiar with the dreaded topes; those Mexican speed bumps that can take out your oil pan or low-hanging bumper if you try to conquer them at more than  two miles an hour.  Your car bangs into one,  which launches it into the air, only to belly flop onto the pavement a few feet down the road.  And to make matters worse, most of these suckers are unmarked, waiting in silence to damage your car, and sometimes you. And don’t even get me started on spillage of beverage.

tope rd.jpgHowever, we may have a friend or two in Mexico City. The Sciences Secretary, Rene Drucker said that it is important to remove the topes in Mexico City as they have become an environmental hazard, causing severe atmospheric pollution. “Every time a vehicle brakes and then accelerates, it emits nine times more pollution in the form of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, contributing to the formation of ozone,” the Secretary warned.

He did admit that there are places where the topes are necessary, but that too many are installed where they are without merit. Secretary Drucker suggested that 80% of Mexico City’s astounding 30,000 topes should be removed.

They are often called sleeping policemen for a reason. If our police would wake up and police the streets, people wouldn’t speed and there would be no need for the damn speed bumps. Topes are a monument to failed policing. 

An environmental study generated in 2014 by the National Autonomous University (UNAM) illustrated how topes contributed to the country’s air pollution, but so far nothing has been done to alleviate the environmental problem. The university added that the loss of Mexico’s ecosystems will continue if there is not a decrease in the use of fossil fuels.

Rosarito and Ensenada have enough stop signs in town to cause our own small environmental challenge. The side streets, parking lots, and neighborhoods adding topes to slow cars from five miles an hour to half-a-mile per hour just make things worse. Do we want to end up like smog-choked Mexico City? Many of these neighborhood topes are home made by the surrounding community or by one pissed off neighbor tired of people speeding on his street.

And speaking of stop signs, we have new stop signs in town, folks. Use them! The race track on the south end of town between the Pemex and Baja Studios is no more! Too many people have been  hurt, prompting the powers that be to save us from ourselves.

In the meantime, remember you are no longer in California. Life is slower here…so should our driving be slower, with or without the dreaded topes.