Musings on IT, data management, whitewater rafting, and backpacking

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Speed Bump revisited

I had to laugh reading the latest "What If?" by Randal Munroe:

Especially when I got to these quotes:
It's natural to assume that hitting a speed bump at 60 would deliver a proportionally larger jolt, but it probably wouldn't.

However, nearly all of those injuries happen to a very specific category of people: Those sitting in hard seats in the backs of buses, riding on poorly-maintained roads.

Absorbing the shock won't necessarily be good for those systems. In the case of the tires, they may absorb it by exploding. If the bump is large enough, it may permanently damage a lot of important parts of the car.

In the late 1980s, I was the proud owner of a 1978 VW Bus. I loved exploring the deserts of Southern California, and sometimes I took friends.

Three of us, with camping gear and mountain bikes strapped to the back, spent a week in Saline Valley, before it became part of Death Valley National Park. We had a grand time in Saline Valley, then left on the road north.

Some of the dirt roads in that area are in excellent shape. We were cruising down one at about 60 mph on a bright sunny day, when


we hit something like a speed bump. Totally unexpected, I missed seeing it in the glare.

The bus had all four wheels off the ground for a short while, then landed with a hard thump. I slowly braked to a stop. Everyone inside was OK, including the passenger in the thinly padded back seat.

I walked around the bus, expecting to find damage. Nothing. Even three bikes hanging off the back hatch on a rack were still attached and in one piece. Nothing inside the bus was damaged, including glass containers in our cooler.


So yes, you can hit a speed bump at 60 mph in a bus, and escape without injury or damage.

Even in an old VW bus.


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