School zone speed limits back in effect Friday

CAA Manitoba wants to remind Winnipeggers to slow down as the school season ramps up.

Speeds near schools in Winnipeg, Brandon drop Sept. 1, enforcement to increase

Reduced speed limits in school zones come back into effect on Friday. (Brett Purdy/CBC)

CAA Manitoba wants to remind Manitobans to slow down as the school season ramps up.

Speed limits in school zones go back into effect on Friday. That means designated zones around most schools in Winnipeg have a speed limit of 30 km/h, Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. until the end of June. The same holds true for Brandon, except the hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

While children in Manitoba don't head back to class until after the September long weekend, CAA Manitoba spokesperson Liz Kulyk said the Sept. 1 start is a good way to practise being alert.

"Pedestrian safety begins with drivers, especially when we're talking about kids who are unpredictable and don't always know the rules of the road," Kulyk said. "A few extra days of enforcement isn't designed to hand out more tickets or to catch motorists off guard. It's about consistency and making the law clear and fair for everyone."

However, not everyone agrees.

Earlier this year, Winnipeg Coun. Shawn Dobson tried to end the practice of handing out tickets on major holidays when students aren't in school, calling it a cash grab. He was ultimately voted down.

Coun. Janice Lukes has called for the school zones to be enforced year-round to end confusion.

While school zone ticket numbers in Winnipeg dropped in 2015, there was a surge last September. Police handed out 27 per cent more tickets in school zones of September of 2016 (8,704) than they did during the same month in 2015 (6,838).

Photo-radar cameras at intersections also netted 44 per cent more tickets that September (3,662) than they did during September 2015 (2,542).

The City of Winnipeg's website has a complete list of streets where the school zone speed limit will be in effect.

The Winnipeg Parking Authority also said parents need to be careful about illegally parked vehicles near schools. 

"Illegally parked vehicles during school pick up and drop-offs create serious safety hazards for children and cause traffic delays," said WPA spokesperson Ryan Arabsky.

"As kids start to head back to school, we encourage everyone to be aware and park with care for everyone's safety, with the added bonus of avoiding a ticket."

With files from Courtney Rutherford and Bartley Kives