Q&A - Disputing Speeding in a Playground Zone Ticket

Q&A ImageI received a Violation Ticket (Speed in Playground Zone) about a year ago and will be disputing it at some point... (I still have not received my court date)

I am disputing the ticket based on the fact that, from my point of view, I was not in a playground zone. The ICBC "Learn to Drive Smart" book states that, "When you reach the back of the school zone sign on the other side of the street, you'll know you have reached the end of the 30 km/h zone" (Pg. 84).

Driving along the street I was ticketed on went like this:

  • I saw a 30 km/h sign on my right and slowed down.
  • After ~30 m, I saw the back of a 30 km/h sign and increased my speed back to 50 km/h.
  • The street turns around a corner, and it is about at this point that the officer registered my speed.
  • The next 30 km/h sign on the right is ~100 m from this point.

This street is Beach Ave. in Vancouver. After speaking with the officer and walking up and down the street to determine where the signs are (I figured that I must have missed seeing one), it is clear that the entire street is intended to be a playground zone. However, there was no way for me to know this while I was driving down the street.

My question is: What would be the best way to present this information in court?

I currently have a screenshot of a Google Maps satellite image of the area, and have marked the locations of the 30 km/h signs. Would it be best to bring a copy of this and give it to the judge? Should I take pictures of the street and the signs as well?

Follow-up question: I was travelling 52 km/h when the officer registered my speed. If I am successful in disputing that I was not in a playground zone, can I still receive a regular speeding ticket?

Thanks very much in advance for reading my lengthy description!



Long explanations are good, it means that I don't have to ask for clarification before I try to answer.

I fired up Google Street View and had a look at Beach Avenue:

I can see what you mean as there is a series of signs on both sides of the street.

Schedule 1 of Division 23 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations says:

30 KILOMETRES PER HOUR TAB (Regulatory) When used below the "School Area (Warning)" sign this tab establishes a maximum speed zone of 30 kilometres per hour on school days between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. or as otherwise specified. This tab may be amended with the text "8AM 5PM SCHOOL DAYS" or other times in place of "8AM 5PM" as specified. A period of time otherwise specified must not commence later than 8 a.m. or end earlier than 5 p.m.

When used below the "Playground Area (Warning)" sign the tab establishes a 30 kilometre per hour zone from dawn to dusk daily.

In both cases, the back of the sign assembly for the opposite direction of travel terminates the 30 km/h speed zone.

Since the zones begin and end at an imaginary line drawn across the pavement perpendicular to the signs, there are really a series of alternating 30 and 50 km/h speed zones on the avenue. If the city really wants the avenue to be 30 km/h between the first sign and the last sign, there needs to be a collection of signs directly across from each other in between.

If you are genuinely not familiar with this stretch when you were ticketed, I would explain that you saw the first sign, slowed, saw the back of the next sign and sped up to 50 km/h after you passed it and had not yet passed (or possibly even saw) the next playground sign on the right necessitating that you slow down again.

The hitch in all of this might be the use of laser to measure your speed. It also measures your distance and could place you within the zone when your speed was measured. When I worked laser, I would sight on the sign and measure it's distance from me and then when I measured each violator would add his distance from the laser and the sign's distance from the laser in my notes. You should request disclosure to see if this might be the case with you or not.

Finally, strictly speaking, if you were doing 52 in the 50 zone at the end, as far as the law is concerned, yes, you were speeding.

More Questions

Thanks for the quick reply!

I am still wondering what the best way to show to the judge the location of the signs. I will definitely explain to him/her how they are placed to create a series of alternating speed zones, but I assume he/she can't just take my word for it.

After walking up and down the street, I actually went back and asked the officer what distance he measured my speed at. He only gave me a guess of about 100 m (I suppose he didn't record it or didn't want to look in his notebook for it). How do I go about requesting disclosure? Do I do this ahead of time, or at court?

More Answers

You should request disclosure right away. This will give the officer time to reply and you time to consider before court.

Yes, the justice can take your word for it, but it is always better to have something to show. Pictures of the signs in the area that you received the ticket in and perhaps a map of the street showing the location of the signs would be a very good idea.

The distance should be part of disclosure. If it is not definite, then you may have a point to raise at trial, if the officer is not sure of the distance it is possible that you were not in the zone when measured. Of course, this will not work if the officer's discrepancy is obviously smaller than the distance to the zone.


My dispute was earlier today. I brought several copies of the following document to court.


Included are the "Playground Area" and "30 Kilometres Per Hour Tab" sections from Schedule 1 of Division 23 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations, a overview map of Beach Avenue, and photos of the area. The yellow dots on the map indicate 30 km/h signs and the blue dot indicated the location of the officer.

The officer registered my speed at a distance of 192 metres, which is well out of the two playground zone ranges shown on page 2 of the document. (I included the distances to the 5 signs in my statement in court.)

I thought I gave a solid explanation and that this document presented the situation in a clear manner. However, the justice ruled that I was guilty. His reasons (paraphrased) for his decision were explained to me as follows.

  • You have presented an excerpt from the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations regarding the 30 km/h tab.
  • The officer stated that Beach Avenue is a 30 km/h playground zone.
  • Evidence that this 30 km/h payground zone is indicated by a 30 km/h tab has not been provided. Therefore, this excerpt does not apply.

This makes no sense to me as the 30 km/h tabs below the playground warning diamonds are clearly visible in the photos I referenced. And how else would a 30 km/h zone be indicated?

Some thoughts:

I was fully prepared to accept an unsucessful dispute attempt, but the unsatisfactory, nonsensical explanation given and the manner in which the justice treated me (and others) has left me feeling very disappointed in the system. It is only a traffic violation and I will just have to suck it up and pay the fine. Though, I cannot help but wonder if the same lack of reasonable attention is given to more serious cases. I do not feel as though anyone should have to feel ignored or not respected in court.

I would like to give credit to the officer. Although he did not budge on the issue of the back of the opposing sign terminating the 30 km/h zone, he was courteous the entire time. This helps to make me feel less sad.

I don't know it is a recent development that the opposing 30 km/h sign terminates the 30 km/h zone. However, I do know that it is an obvious rule to everyone who is of a similar age to me - 24. It is taught and reinforced many times in both driving lessons and examinations. If this is not the rule we should follow, it needs to stop being taught. And if it is a new rule, everyone needs to be updated, especially those in positions of power.


Well, if you feel that the justice made an error, you can appeal his decision. Unfortunately, I have no experience in this and cannot advise you. A quick Google didn't turn up anything useful either.

Thanks very much again for coming back here and sharing the situation with everyone.

Vancouver Motorcycle Police ...

... just love handing out tickets along this road. They hide very effectively under the trees, and know all the best spots to aim their radar.

It never seems to occur to anybody that actually, the 30 km/h PG limit is in fact too low, given the sight lines and pedestrian/bicyclist behavour. Never mind that after driving it for decades, I've never seen a child in the immediate vicinity; and never are they to be observed dashing about near the roadway.

Their behaviour just increases the disrespect that some of us feel toward traffic policing, and how they spend their time making this world safer for the rest of us.

Yeah, right ...


Google Ads