Saskatoon school zone speed limits now in effect as safety program launched

Click to play video: 'Pedestrian safety in Saskatoon school zones'
Pedestrian safety in Saskatoon school zones
WATCH ABOVE: A new pedestrian safety campaign is underway as kids return to school. Jacqueline Wilson looks at what officials are hoping to achieve – Sep 1, 2016

Students are back in class, and with that school zone speed limits are now in effect.

Between Sept. 1 and June 30, the speed limit in school zones is 30 km/h from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan work zone speeding still an issue, 113 drivers ticketed in July

Speed limits remain in place on statutory holidays and on days when there are no classes.

“If you were to enter a school zone at 50 km/h and not slow down for the school zone whatsoever then your ticket would be $230,” explained traffic enforcement Const. Joe Tataryn.

According to officials, it takes an additional 12 seconds to drive through a school zone at the reduced speed.

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“Our children’s safety is worth that,” said Angela Gardiner, the city’s transportation director.

Those key seconds could be the difference between life or death for a child.

“50 km/h is almost certainly going to be fatal because his/her head is going to be down in the area of the actual collision,” Tataryn said.

The reduced limit is designed to give drivers more reaction time to brake in an emergency.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan traffic safety blitz focuses on school zone safety

According to SGI the stopping distance at 50 km/h is almost twice that of 30 km/h. In dry conditions that’s that difference between being able to react and stop in 27 meters compared to 16 meters, respectively.

Alongside speeding, common roadway misconceptions can also lead to school zone collisions and that’s why the city has launched the Roads for All safety campaign.

It speaks to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

“Driver’s need to remember that pedestrians have the right of way at all crosswalks whether or not there are signs or pavement markings,” Gardiner explained.

Another thing to remember is that U-turns are prohibited in school zones and parent’s need to follow parking signage.

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“One of the things we see a lot of is parents dropping off a student quick when there happens to be an opening, sometimes near a crosswalk. Even if it’s just for a second it’s blocking the safety of their own children,” Gardiner said.

READ MORE: Sask. police unit hands out over 12,400 traffic tickets in 2015

Police say they’re going to crack down on school zone speeders using photo radar and traffic stops.

One radar camera will rotate through five school zones in the city:

  • Michael Community School;
  • École Henry Kelsey School;
  • Brownell / St. Angela;
  • École Canadienne-Française; and
  • Mother Teresa / Silverspring.

With files from David Giles


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