“My question is not directly on school bus matters, but about “school zone” road signs. I moved from Calgary, where school zones are clearly defined at the start and at the end with signs. Driving around New West, Burnaby and the Tri-Cities, I’ve noticed that there are only signs that tell you when school zones begins, but not when they end. Not long ago, I was driving through a school zone and the car behind me started to honk at me to speed up. I was still driving the reduced speed as I hadn’t seen the school zone end sign. After this incident, I asked a friend, how are you supposed to know when the school zone ends? He told me to look for where the school property ends. It doesn’t seem to make sense that I should be worrying about where the school property ends and not focusing all my attention to what is happening on the road. So, my question to you is: how do you know when a school zone ends and it is safe to increase your speed?”
Yasuo, having lived in Alberta myself, I know exactly what you mean. Indeed, when I first moved here, the absence of the “School Zone End” sign was quite noticeable to me too.
Since each province has its own set of regulations for traffic signage, road signs in Alberta are not exactly the same as those in B.C.
In B.C., the “School Zone End” sign is not required. Naturally, drivers would wonder where a school zone ends. The answer is to look for the school zone sign facing the opposite direction of traffic. In some municipalities, such as in Port Coquitlam, the school zone sign pole is painted neon green so the sign is more visible to drivers in all directions. At some schools in other jurisdictions, staff members put traffic cones along the entire stretch of the school zone as an extra reminder for drivers to slow down. I hope this answers your question.
Did you know:
• The posted speed limit in school zones is 30 km/h and it is applicable on school days between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., unless the sign says otherwise.
• The posted speed limit in playground zones is 30 km/h from dawn to dusk, every day of the year, not just on school days.
• Until children are about eight years of age, it is difficult for them to assess whether a vehicle is moving or not. So drivers must watch for children walking on medians, roadways and curbs, and be cautious when approaching intersections.
• Children also assume cars stop instantly, and they do not have the ability to estimate whether there is enough time for them to cross the road.
• When children see an approaching car, they first notice the colour of the vehicle — not how fast the vehicle is travelling.
• It takes a vehicle 13 metres to come to a complete stop when driving 30 km/h, but 27 metres — more than double that distance — when driving 50 km/h.
• By law, drivers are required to have their lights on between a half hour after sunset and a half hour before sunrise, or whenever they cannot see clearly due to weather conditions. That said, it is recommended to drive with your headlights on at all times.
• The painted yellow curb lines that prohibit parking in front of a school are there for a reason: to ensure that drivers’ vision and their ability to spot children on the sidewalk or roadway is not impeded.
If you have any more questions about school zones or traffic in general, we are more than happy to answer them. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Cop Talk” is a monthly column produced as a partnership between the Coquitlam RCMP and the Tri-Cities NOW based on questions submitted by readers. Cpl. Jamie Chung is the media relations officer for the Coquitlam RCMP. Questions can be submitted to email@example.com (put “Cop Talk” in the subject line). You can follow Cpl. Chung on Twitter (@rcmpjchung) and visit the Coquitlam RCMP’s website (www.coquitlam.rcmp.ca) for more information about policing and public safety in your community.
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