Tuesday, February 14, 2012


My friend Alistair, after reading the entry on hitting the tope, has asked what topes are.

Alistair, a tope is a speed bump on steroids! Sometimes they are painted a contrasting color and are easy to spot and slow down for and sometimes not. Sometimes they are marked with a sign and sometimes not,.

They are mostly formed of pavement or concrete but some (the worst kind) are lengths of tug boat rope stretched across the road or a row of canon balls half buried in the pavement. Sometimes they are high and wide and double as a crosswalk.

They are used to mark the beginning and end of a small puebla, school or shopping area. Sometimes there is only one and sometimes a series of them. Sometimes there is a warning sign but no tope. My friend Whit calls these "fauxpes". They serve to slow down everyone but the locals. The portable tug boat rope topes are the most bone jarring kind and are favored by the policia and military to slow you down for their inspection stations.

They all must be crossed over at a dead crawl to avoid losing some teeth or breaking some important part of your RV. Broken hitches or frames are not unheard of as are blown tires and damaged wheels.


  1. We have something similar here in Vienna. (Well, and scattered throughout Europe too I suppose)
    The major difference is they'll elevate an entire intersection when it comes to the ones on the back streets, which are posted 30 k.p.h. anyway, and then out here on Mariahilferstrasse they've elevated the cross walks. It's not just a straight up and down though, like your Topes, since there's room enough on them for an entire vehicle. The thing is though, to stop on an elevated cross walk is an offence, since it blocks pedestrian traffic.
    I still don't think that I've ever come across anything here as viscous as a "Tope" though.
    They sound brutal.

  2. Hi Croft: I was talking to a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) who said she and some of her heavy weight friends were in a
    pulmonia (small open golf cart cab) and they were so heavy they got the pulmonia high centred on a tope and couldn't move! They all had to unload so the driver could clear the tope! All quite hilarious and they had a good laugh about it.

  3. Thanks Croft- Obviously we haven't made it to Mexico yet. I am glad that that Topes weren't Mexicans who ran in front of cars.
    P.S.- Mary and I are getting married in Vegas on April 1st with Elvis in attendance !!