School Zones

school zone signWe place a high value on our children and signify that with playground and school zones. Traffic is required to slow to the lowest speed limit that we normally post and drivers are expected to pay more attention than usual. Students must get to and from school safely.

Crosswalks and Crossing Guards found in School Zones

Who Is The Danger?

My enforcement experience has shown me that during the peak rush before and after classes, quite a few violators consist of parents and school staff. These are the people that are in a hurry to drop the kids off before work, stop where they are not supposed to because they will "just be a minute" and drop their cargo off where they have to cross the busy street to get to the school because the parking lot is full.

Signs for School Zones

The lime yellow pentagon is the standard sign used to mark school zones. What a driver must do depends on the tab placed below it:

  • If there is no tab at all, the driver should proceed with extra caution at any time of the day or day of the week.
  • Black on yellow tabs are advisory. You may choose to follow their advice depending on the circumstances that you find at the time.
  • Black on white tabs are regulatory. You must follow their direction without fail.

At minimum, school zones are in effect from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Pay close attention to the regulatory tab on the sign as times may begin before and after those times if posted.

A school zone ends after you pass by the sign on the left side of the road. Some municipalities have installed a School Zone Ends sign on the back of these to make the boundary more visible.

Regular School Days

Regulatory tabs are in effect on a regular school day. These are days in the school calendar set by the individual school district and include sports days and Pro D days. The safe bet is to follow them on any day, Monday through Friday, that is not a statutory holiday.

The Cost of Slowing Down

Let's consider a school zone about 400 meters in length. This distance might even be a bit long for most zones, but it takes about 29 seconds to drive this distance at 50 km/h. Slow down to 30 km/h and it takes about 48 seconds, or only 19 seconds longer. 19 seconds is trivial and I'll dare to say that all drivers can spare 19 seconds out of their day to contribute to school zone safety.

School Crosswalks

School crosswalks, marked and unmarked, are another consideration. They are often controlled by crossing guards and you must obey the guard's direction. When a guard is not present it's probably best to expect the unexpected. It doesn't matter if you are a driver or a pedestrian, stop, look, listen, make eye contact and proceed only when safe.

school crosswalk sign

Walking School Bus / Bicycle Trains

Similar to a regular school bus, a walking school bus has a predetermined route to pick-up children and drop them off along the way to and from school. The "driver" of the bus is usually a parent volunteer that takes turns with others from the neighbourhood to guide a safe trip.

The bicycle train operates on the same concept to guide young cyclists to and from school safely.

ICBC's Tips for School Zones

  • If you drop off your child in a school zone, allow them to exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk. Never allow a child to cross mid-block.
  • If a vehicle's stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so proceed with caution and be prepared to stop.
  • Watch for school buses and when their lights are flashing, vehicles approaching from both directions must stop.
  • Before getting into your vehicle, walk around it to make sure no small children are hidden from your view. Always look for pedestrians when you're backing up.
  • In residential areas, a hockey net or ball can mean that kids are playing nearby. Watch for children as they could dash into the street at any moment.
  • Remember that every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In playground zones, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect every day from dawn to dusk.

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This concludes our lesson for the day class, do you have any questions?

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5,400 Pound? ..... That's about 8.700 Canadian Pesos! 

Of course it's only taxpayers' money, eh?


As a parent, it infuriates me when cars are speeding through school zones. Honestly, if an officer had time I'm sure he could write a book full of tickets daily as motorists just speed through our local school zones. Remember, even High Schools are zones as well. Just because they are older doesn't mean they don't matter!

Please for the love of the kids slow down!!!!

Question -- as a citizen, is there anything we can "legally" do? IE Get a speed sign? Enforce zones? Don a vest and hold a slow sign?

I'd love to try and get people to slow down!!!

The parents/guardians driving their kids to school!  

I live a block from an elementary school - for years - and can unequivocally state it is parents who speed thru the area.  It's the same old adage, rules apply to all others except the entitled.  

Something that will always stick in my mind from when I was working as a Driver Examiner. When entering the school zone, the applicant had carefully slowed to the 30 km/h limit, so that's when the woman behind hit the horn and accelerated angrily past us, only to pull over to the curb in front of the school half a block ahead, where she dropped her son off.

There are some people out there who are ill-equipped to be parents, or drivers, I reckon. They're entirely too selfish and immature. 

I began my driving experience on a bicycle many years ago and that's where I learned the rules of the road the road and basics of staying in my lane on my side of the road and hand signals and courtesy for other drivers and basic safety.  I believe this established a base line for me that helped me as I transitioned to driving a car.

Somehow I recall the police monitoring us as we rode our bikes and giving us direction or threats if we did something  wrong.

I shudder when I watch your people riding their bikes today, wondering how they will drive a car and maybe that's why many of today's drivers are so inconsiderate of other drivers and pedestrians and of road safety in general.

If or when these people graduate from  bike to a car how do they learn much of how they drive is inappropriate or even illegal.  Scares me and I need to be extra cautious and aware more and more.