Driver, 23, who spent £3,000 lowering his suspension to ‘look fresh’ now has to drive extra 600 miles a month on daily commute after council installed six-inch speed bumps on local roads

Christopher Fitzgibbon dropped height of VW Passat to four inches off ground
This means the bottom now scrapes along new speed bumps in his local village
He is now angry at having to take a route that is twice as long to get into work

A young driver who spent £3,000 lowering the suspension on his modified car now has to take a diversion that adds 600 miles a month onto his daily commute after a council installed six-inch speed bumps on local roads.

Christopher Fitzgibbon, 23, dropped the height of his VW Passat to just four inches off the ground to improve stability and ‘look fresh’.

But the modifications mean he is unable to go the straight route to the office through his local village of Galbally in Limerick, Ireland, and has to take a much more roundabout way.

Christopher Fitzgibbon, 23, dropped the height of his VW Passat (pictured) to just four inches off the ground to improve stability and ‘look fresh’

Mr Fitzgibbon had already forked out £13,000 to keep his pride and joy on the road in just three years – including £5,000 on just one year’s insurance.

He has also suffered £2,000 worth of damage trying to scrape over the traffic calming measures.

He now wants the local council to pay for the damage – but it has refused and instructed lawyers to warn him off.

‘These new ones have been up for about eight weeks and they’re just absolutely ridiculous because they stop me from driving through the village,’ he said.

‘And it doesn’t matter what speed I’m at either – I could be driving at 5km per hour or 80 km per hour and it wouldn’t make a difference.

‘I feel discriminated against because I’m driving a modified car – it’s lowered, so it’s four inches off the road – and I’m being denied my right to drive on these roads.’

Mr Fitzgibbon bought the car for £2,500 in March 2016 and spent £3,000 lowering the suspension. He uses it to commute 30 miles per day to his maintenance job.

The first speed bump was installed in September last year – but now matching humps have been created on the two other entry roads into the village.

He lives just south of Galbally in Limerick, which is previously drove through on his way to work. But speed bumps (circled) now block his route, so he has to take a diversion

Mr Fitzgibbon lives three miles outside Galbally but can no longer drive through it on his way to work.

He also cannot now drive to the Post Office, pub or shops.

His motor has become marooned on numerous occasions – including one where it had to be towed free and an incident where passers-by came to his rescue.

‘They’ve built five speed ramps on three entrance roads,’ Mr Fitzgibbon explained.

‘I complained about the first one for about six weeks and they basically responded to me with two fingers up and four more ramps in February.

‘I went to the council office where the road engineer is based – but I got nothing back but physical and verbal abuse and intimidation.

‘The road engineer was so mad with me. He kept pushing me about, telling me I had no effing right to be here and who the eff was I to come in and complain.

‘I’ll never forget, he called me ‘frivolous’ and ‘vexatious’.’

The diversion around surrounding roads doubles the length of his commute.

Mr Fitzgibbon said: ‘I used to drive through the village to get to work – but now I have to drive around Galbally, which adds on 15 miles in the morning and 15 in the evening.

‘That’s an extra 30 miles a day, 150 miles a week, 600 miles a month, and 7,000 miles a year – all because of speed bumps that are too high for my car.

‘I know I’m not the only person these bumps affect – my boss has complained to me about them, but he doesn’t want the attention.’

He says £2,163 worth of damage has been caused to his vehicle, including the tow hitch, shock absorbers, drop links, springs – and even the bumpers.

This is the new route he has to take to avoid the obstructions, which is twice as long as his previous one

Mr Fitzgibbon wants Limerick City and County Council to pay for the damage – but it says his continued correspondence is causing ‘considerable disruption’ to its staff.

A letter from Leahy Reidy Solicitors on behalf of the council said: ‘We refer to our clients letter to you dated the 1st of February 2018.

‘In the letter they clearly indicated to you that you were not to engage on any future occasion with our clients by telephone.

‘Furthermore, you are not to call their offices as your activity is causing considerable disruption to the running of the business of the Council.’

Limerick City and County Council disputes Christopher’s claim that the bumps are six inches high and insists they are around half that, at 75mm.

A spokesperson said: ‘The speed ramps/cushions that were placed in the Galbally this year were put in as per Limerick City and County Council’s Traffic Calming Policy Document are only 75mm high and were placed on the R662.

‘We have received no other complaint in relation to them.

‘A traffic survey carried out prior to installation indicated high levels of speed through the village and non-compliance with existing speed limits. The introduction of the measures has resulted in a safer village for all.

‘Similar speed cushions were introduced in other areas of the county without issue.’

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One Comment

  1. Speed “cushions”? Are they made of some sort of soft material or does “cushion” mean something different in British/Irish than I take it as meaning in American English?

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