Manitoba: Legislative Amendments Would Allow Municipalities Control Over Speed Limits In School Zones


Amended legislation would allow for reduced speed limits in school zones throughout Manitoba. (STAN MILOSEVIC / MANITOBAPHOTOS.COM)

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The City of Saskatoon lowered the speed limit to 30 km/h in school zones almost a decade ago, in September, 2002.  The 30 km/h speed limit is in effect from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, September to June – including statutory holidays.

School zones begin at the 30 km/h sign and end at a sign indicating a greater speed limit (normally 50 km/h). If motorists there refuse to slow down in a school zone they face a conviction, three (3) demerit points and a fine.

Can you spare 12 seconds?  That’s the additional time it takes to drive through a school zone at 30 kilometres per hour instead of 50. This is a question that the City of Saskatoon asks motorists.

Legislative amendments to the Highway Traffic Acthave been introduced that would provide local governments control over speed limits in school zones, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton announced today.

The City of Saskatoon asks motorists this question a decade ago when they lowered the speed limit from 50 to 30 km/h in school zones. Apparently a driver loses 12 seconds while driving in school zone after they have lowered their speed from 50 km/h to 30 km/h. This law is in effect during the school year from September to June, 8 a.m - 5 p.m

“Every community wants to do everything it can to ensure the safety of young people as they travel to and from school,” said Ashton.  “These changes would empower local governments to enact the most appropriate speed limits for schools in their communities.”

The proposed amendments to the Highway Traffic Act would allow local governments such as municipalities, band councils and community councils to establish maximum speeds lower than 50 km/h in school zones.

The province will hold consultations with local governments and other stakeholders to help determine the regulations on the type, size and position of appropriate notifications and signage, and how high-speed roads would be treated, Ashton said.

Signs erected in school zones in the City of Saskatoon

The Highway Traffic Act already authorizes local municipalities to establish certain traffic-related bylaws including the parking of vehicles on streets near public schools.

A working group has been studying traffic safety in school zones, the minister said, adding the study will determine the most effective ways of improving safety in school zones including new guidelines for school area traffic safety.  The study, led by representatives of Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation, Manitoba Education, Manitoba Public Insurance, the City of Winnipeg, Green Action Centre (Active and Safe Routes to School Program) and the RCMP, is expected to be completed later this year.

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