Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Reduced limits in effect Monday: School zones apply new, lower speeds

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Though you might be in a rush to get the kids back to school, you'll have to get there more slowly. New speed limits in 171 school zones -- a drop to 30 km/h from 50 km/h in most areas -- go into effect Monday and city police realize the new speeds might take some time to get used to.

"Reducing speeds from 50 to 30 is a significant drop. We're all going to have to be extra aware and extra cautious," said Const. Jason Michalyshen. "Regardless of time of day or day of week, we have to get into that habit."

School zones in other areas of the province, such as Brandon, Winkler and Portage la Prairie, have already adopted restricted speeds. This is not a new or innovative practice, said spokeswoman for the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Automobile Association, Angèle Young.

"Speed is always a concern no matter how many speed bumps, crosswalks and patrols you have. There's still drivers and motorcyclists that will speed through school zones and they need to know it's a law required of them to slow down," Young said.

"If our speeds are reduced, we can react quicker, we can stop faster. And if in fact there is contact made, when speeds are reduced, the likelihood of significant injuries is greatly reduced as well," said Michalyshen.

New street signs advertising the changing speed limits popped up in recent weeks. The new limits will be effective between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday, between September and June.

Traditional and photo radar ticket enforcement will still apply to school zones, too, to ensure children's safety, said Michalyshen.

"We want kids to be safe. It doesn't matter where they are, but in relation to these particular areas near school zones, we're going to be there monitoring," he said. As of Monday, going 50 km/h in a school zone advertised as 30 km/h will cost speedsters $310.

Michalyshen suggested officers would not start issuing tickets immediately.

"This first week isn't about us putting out the message that we're out there and if you're not travelling at the posted speed limit in these school zones, then it's all about tickets," said Michalyshen. "Changing habits often takes time and hopefully, it's not a significant amount of time... at the expense of injuries."

jessica.botelho-urbanski@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 30, 2014 A8

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Updated on Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 9:32 AM CDT: Adds interactive

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