New signage marking the speed limit changes in school zones is posted on 26th Street near J.R. Reid School in Brandon. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Motorists will have to ease off the gas pedal in school zones starting next week.
In June, following a change in provincial legislation that allowed municipalities to lower speed limits in school zones, city council approved a reduction that will see drivers slow down to 30 km/h in residential school areas.
The traffic bylaw takes effect Monday, the start of September, and will run between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. until the end of June.
Brandon Police Service Sgt. Dallas Lockhart said officers will be out in full force ensuring the public is aware of the change.
"There will be a high level of police visibility throughout the first week," Lockhart said, adding that BPS will focus primarily on educating motorists during the initial days.
"However, our officers always have the ability to exercise discretion and in cases of excessive speeds, even during that first week, they may issue tickets."
The reduced-speed school zones will apply to 20 schools in the city. There are a few exceptions — the intersection of 18th Street and Victoria Avenue near Earl Oxford Middle School, as well as Victoria Avenue East near King George School.
Signs have already been erected as the city will have to follow strict provincial law when it comes to posting the limit change. In order to abide the law, between six and eight signs will have to be placed in the zones and as many as 16 on divided roads.
Lockhart said the slowdown is just one way to keep the community safer, particularily in areas with heavy traffic congestion and young children.
One study by Safe Kids Canada shows that a child hit by a car going 50 km/h has an 80 per cent chance of being killed. However, a child hit by a car going 30 km/h has a 95 per cent chance of survival.
"There is a huge safety factor in reducing the speed," Lockhart said.
BPS also plans a blitz during the third week of school, beginning Sept. 22. The goal for that enforcement program won’t be educting the public but deterring speeders with fines.
"We are going to have officers dedicated to monitoring speeds through the school zones and there will be a zero tolerance approach with speeders," Lockhart said.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 30, 2014