Speed-limit roller coaster or speed-trap zone?

Why do you drive along a major road and the speed limit goes up and down? This is a question that comes up periodically, and most readers believe that these stretches are prime for speed traps. We received a couple of answers from government agencies, which probably won't appease those who truly do think these are revenue-generating portions of the road. By the way, if you know of a roadway you suspect is used for a speed trap, please shoot me an email. Here we go:

Michael asks: Can you tell me why the city of Henderson maintains the speed limit at 35 mph on Green Valley Parkway? Not only does it seem more logical for the speed limit to be 45 mph, but it is actually difficult to maintain 35 mph on many parts without riding the brakes. I realize it's a great revenue generator for the city, but there are no residence driveways other than apartment complexes that open out to the street and there are a number of other streets in the county with the same characteristics that maintain a 45 mph speed limit.

According to the city of Henderson, there are several reasons the posted speed limit is 35 mph. First, the road in certain areas is more narrow than normal, which means the lanes are skinnier than normal. Second, the parkway was built before sight distance restrictions were in place, and there are some places where driveways and cross streets are not easily visible because of block walls that surround neighborhoods. Third, the Henderson Police Department believes 35 mph is the safest speed on streets just like Green Valley Parkway. And apparently your comment about having to ride the brakes is somewhat known; the "design speed" on the road is between 40 mph and 50 mph, and the city tends to post speed limits that are 5 to 10 mph lower than the design speed.

Here's another reader: I live in the southwest valley. I have noticed the speed limit on Fort Apache is 35 mph from Blue Diamond Road all the way to Tropicana Avenue. The speed limit on Warm Springs Road is 35 mph from Fort Apache Road to Rainbow Boulevard. Now I'm not sure how they determine speed limits, by number of lanes, residential areas, etc., but Durango Drive is 45 mph from Blue Diamond all the way north, and Sunset Road is 45 mph from Fort Apache all the way east. And these those two roads have similar surroundings as Fort Apache and Warm Springs. So why the speed limit difference?

The surroundings might be similar, but according to Clark County, the speed limit also has a lot to do with the number of lanes. In this particular area, the wider the road is, the higher the speed limit. As the road narrows, the speed limit decreases. The county also looks at traffic counts and the features of the road such as curves and the number of driveways in the area.

Glenn couldn't afford his motorcycle insurance and had to allow it lapse. As a result, he has a couple of questions. First, will the Department of Motor Vehicles hold me accountable for the $250 fine if I file for a nonoperation and back date it? I hadn't ridden it for a couple of weeks before the insurance had lapsed.

Let's just say straight up that back-dating the nonoperation when it truly was operable is not a good idea. What could happen is your nightmare can grow worse than a $250 fine, meaning that submitting paperwork saying the motorcycle was not working when it was is considered fraud, so now you would be dealing with a crime. If it was deemed nonoperational, the document should be signed by a DMV tech or a notary and what you are signing your name to swear the information is the truth. Unfortunately, no matter the circumstances, a fine is a fine, and you will be fined the $250. I feel for you, it is a steep fine.

And No. 2: If I decide to just pay the fine, will the DMV charge me more because it has been three months since I got the postcard?

Well, I suppose this is the good news part, Glenn. You will not be assessed late fees; the $250 is all you will be responsible to pay.

Pam wants to know about emergency vehicles: When an emergency vehicle approaches an intersection, do they have the technology to change the traffic signal to green?

It depends, Pam. Public emergency vehicles such as police cars and fire engines have devices that pre-empt traffic signals. However, private companies do not have the same authority. That would include firms such as MedicWest and AMR, which provide ambulance services, and also private security companies.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Adrienne Packer at 702-387-2904, or send an email to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Include your phone number.