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Tri-City schools will soon be back in session — and so will 30 km/h speed zones

Mounties are reminding local drivers to be aware of the reduced limits when students return to class Sept. 6.
School zone speed limits of 30 km/h will be back in force for the Tri-Cities Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on school days, or as posted otherwise.

Yes, it's hard to believe that summer is nearing its end.

The upcoming seasonal shift comes with changes to drivers' awareness of schools and more kids outside in Tri-Cities neighbourhoods.

On Sept. 6, more than 32,00 students across about 70 institutions in the Coquitlam school district (SD43) will be heading back to class for the new calendar year.

This means 30 km/h speed limits will be back in full force on school days — Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., unless otherwise posted.

And while the weather allows it, Coquitlam RCMP says some students will be choosing to walk to and from school.

"Police urge drivers to be extra cautious and watch for children on the roadway," said Mounties spokesperson Const. Deanna Law in a statement.

"Playground zones are still in effect from dawn until dusk every day."

School zone fines

For the first week of school, it's very likely that RCMP traffic officers will be out in the communities making sure local drivers are obeying the 30 km/h limit.

Between Sept. 8 and 9. 2020, Coquitlam Mounties issued nearly 100 violation tickets for drivers that violated driving laws near a school zone, including 31 for speeding or excessive speeding.

Common traffic violations under the BC Motor Vehicle Act near schools and parks, and the accompanying fines, are as follows:

  • $167 = Fail to obey school guard or school patrol
  • $167 = Fail to yield to pedestrian at crosswalk
  • $196 = Speed in school zone or playground zone 1-20 km/h over
  • $253 = Speed in school zone or playground zone 21-40 km/h over
  • $368 = Fail to stop for school bus

Talk to your kids

As well, Law says it's important that parents and guardians do their part in ensuring their children know the rules of the road before heading back to school.

"We would like to remind all parents to have a road safety talk with their children no matter what age they are," she added. 

"We have very respectful and considerate communities in the Tri-Cities, school and playground zones are always a priority."

Safety tips providing by RCMP are as follows for students:

  • Use designated crossing points and follow crossing signals where available
  • Remove headphones from music players and put down the cell phone when crossing the road
  • When crossing major roads, make sure that all lanes of traffic have stopped before walking across. Often drivers in the middle lanes don’t see pedestrians
  • Make eye contact with the drivers before stepping out onto crosswalks
  • Dress to be seen — daylight hours are decreasing, so wear brighter colours or reflective material whenever possible
  • Walk on the sidewalk, or if unavailable, walk on the side of the road facing the traffic
  • Walk on well-lit routes with less traffic
  • Always be aware of your surroundings

Tips for drivers include:

  • Plan ahead, leave earlier to allow yourself extra time through School Zones
  • Be alert to children near or around crosswalks and intersections
  • If a vehicle in a different lane slows or stops in front of you, slow down or stop and ensure that no one is on the crosswalk before proceeding
  • Always yield to pedestrians at intersections or designated crosswalks

Anyone who sees poor or unsafe driving behaviour near playgrounds or schools is encouraged to call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 or use the detachment's online crime reporting system.