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School Zone signs

By Sgt.Bungers - 28 September 2009 15

That time of year again!  Schools out, and ACT’s school zone signs are closed… well most of them.  Doing the rat run through Hackett this morning I noticed a school zone sign open and displaying the 40 limit.  Unaware it was school holidays, I slowed without hesitation.  As the sign is still legally enforceable whilst displaying 40, I will continue to slow until it’s folded up.

As I drove down Majura Ave. I noticed the school zone signs folded up, despite maybe 10 young kids walking near the road some without parents, perhaps heading to a school holiday program of some sort at the school there.  I slowed to 40 again whilst in the vicinity of the kids.

Do you think school zone signs in the ACT need attention? If so, should they remain “unfolded” for school holiday programs?  Should we use Victoria’s model and implement permanent 40km/h zones around schools?  Or the model used in some US states where drivers must slow to 25mph(40km/h) only when there’s children near the road?  Perhaps it’s time to change to electronic speed limit signs that display a lower speed limit at certain times of the day.

Or should we simply bring laws into force stating that any person driving a motor vehicle or riding a bike who hits and kills a person on foot near a school, be charged with manslaughter regardless of circumstance?  Watch how quickly the 40km/h zones become irrelevant as people slow their vehicles to a crawl whilst there’s people near the road. (Laws like this already exist for entire towns in Europe, the result being a dramatic increase in concentration from people driving motor vehicles, and a decrease in fatalities as high as 95%.)

Thoughts?

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
School Zone signs
Jim Jones 3:51 pm 29 Sep 09

I have to continually slow down 20kph for an entire 50 metre stretch of road. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I demand that all levels of government address this crisis immediately. If something is not done urgently, people could take up to 15-30 seconds longer to get where they’re going. Sure, 15 seconds might not sound like much, but over a longer period of time, this adds up. Over the period of a year, I might have lost an entire 15 minutes or so – multiply this by the amount of people having to slow down needlessly and you have a drain on national economic efficiency that surely must costs billions and billions of dollars, weakening the Australian dollar and devaluing us as a proud nation.

The the principal of the matter is also at stake. Having people drive slowly around schools sends entirely the wrong message to the community (including these so-called ‘children’, who seem to find it convenient to congregate in public places simply to curb the orderly flow of traffic). As I understand it, these ‘children’ don’t have jobs and don’t even bother to drive cars; as such, they don’t pay taxes, and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to use the roads anyway because they’re not riding in registered vehicles. As I was saying, the community needs to understand that priority is *always* given to motorists. Nothing is more important than going really fast, all the time: nothing.

Jenna57 3:25 pm 29 Sep 09

Let’s not forget that ACT and NSW holidays are not always at the same time, thus adding to the confusion for those of us who travel interstate to work. It would be nice if the respective governments could talk to each other and align them. I agree, too, that having the one limit all day lessens confusion, and protects those kids that might be out of the classroom. It’s not great hardship to reduce your speed down to 40kph for that short space of time.

Valleyboy 3:24 pm 29 Sep 09

Should we use Victoria’s model and implement permanent 40km/h zones around schools?

Absolutely not! Why a full-time imposition for a part-time problem? Case in point: My suburb has been intelligently designed so that much of its population cannot drive to or from the rest of the world without passing through a school zone. Part of the major access road through the suburb has a primary school fronting it. The only thing on the opposite side of the road from the school is a stormwater reserve. Yet, in their infinite wisdom, the powers that be have set up two speedbumps along the way in front of the school. For the approximately eighty percent of the hours of the year when the school zone is not in operation, those speed bumps just go on pointlessly impeding the progress of private motorists, emergency vehicles and (gasp!) buses. Such full-time impositions are overkill.

As for colleges, I couldn’t care less if there isn’t sufficient student parking space, nor could I care less if the students have to pay to park. If, by the time they enter college, those students don’t have sufficiently developed road sense to be able to cross the street to school without the help of a special 40km/h zone, like little primary school kids, then they certainly aren’t fit to be behind the wheel of a car, either. Get rid of the 40km/h mollycoddle zones around colleges — places which, I thought, were supposed to prepare their students for grown-up life, not to infantilise them from it — and we’ll talk about your student parking.

BenMac 10:44 am 29 Sep 09

I believe some 40km/h sign stay visible during school holidays is because there might be a pre school/day care still operating in the area.

bd84 9:49 pm 28 Sep 09

GnT said :

I think permanent signs that have the reduced speed limit for “school days only” (as per NSW) would be more practical. It takes forever for them to fold up the signs, and since they say Monday – Friday, you have to stick to 40 on public holidays.

Then you have to sit there in your car and make a judgement within a couple of seconds in your head to decide whether it is in fact a school day or not. Someone with no children or grown-up children will have absolutely no idea when school holidays are, I don’t see why they should sit and guess.

I think the current system is the best of probably any jurisdiction. All day zones are good as they remove the confusion as to what time it is and whether it’s before 2.30 or after etc. Kids don’t sit in their classrooms all day, there normally have some sort of sport outside during the day (well they did when I was there?) and add in lunchtimes etc you will find kids are outside for a large portion of the day. I’d rather drive at 40kph for a few hundred metres than to run over and kill a child in a school zone.

It is true about school holidays in the ACT, the number of idiot drivers on the road falls proportion with the number of parents not driving due to school holidays. 2 weeks of driving bliss (almost).

GnT 9:04 pm 28 Sep 09

I think permanent signs that have the reduced speed limit for “school days only” (as per NSW) would be more practical. It takes forever for them to fold up the signs, and since they say Monday – Friday, you have to stick to 40 on public holidays.

busgirl 8:19 pm 28 Sep 09

Jivrashia said :

Aaah. So it IS the school holidays.

Due to the lack of traffic this morning while heading in to work I almost believed that I’d got my days wrong and in fact it was Sunday.

You do realise that this is a social phenomenon unique to Canberra (doesn’t happen in Melbourne or Sydney).

No, I didn’t realise that…why just here?

Cameron 8:11 pm 28 Sep 09

Thoroughly Smashed said :

Children aren’t physically locked inside schools between those hours. They can and do venture outside the school’s boundaries, with or without supervision.

Children can and do venture around rounds everywhere between 10 and 2pm. They are just as likely to be around a road nowhere near a school between 10 and 2 as they are near a school itself.

I’d love for the 40kph limit to apply during certain times only, and I can live with the day or two it takes for all the signs to be unfolded when entering/exiting a holiday period.

Thoroughly Smashed 4:43 pm 28 Sep 09

Swaggie said :

I’ve never really seen why we are limited to 40kph between 10am and 2pm but I live with it.

Children aren’t physically locked inside schools between those hours. They can and do venture outside the school’s boundaries, with or without supervision.

watto23 4:07 pm 28 Sep 09

The current system seems fine to me. I’d argue the daytime hours should go back to 50, but it doesn’t affect me, i’m rarely driving during the day. Seriously people really need to use commonsense when driving especially in busy pedestrian areas and when merging (ie speed up to the traffic speed and don’t slow down).

Swaggie 3:34 pm 28 Sep 09

There is enough money wasted in this town without electronic signs out side schools. I’ve never really seen why we are limited to 40kph between 10am and 2pm but I live with it. All in all the current system works well.

Fiona 2:49 pm 28 Sep 09

I certainly prefer the full day school zones we have here over the certain morning and afternnoon hour in NSW.

I’m confused by them being up for colleges. But then,teenage drivers probabl need them as much as the pedestrians in the area

I do, however, hate when signs are left out (be they road work or school zones) when not necessary. How many of us have topped slowing down as asked by a sign when there’s no roadwork?

Rawhide Kid No 2 2:47 pm 28 Sep 09

Oops sorry , spelling. (happen)

Rawhide Kid No 2 2:46 pm 28 Sep 09

I think they should use those electronic changeable speed signs, like the one on the M7 in Sydney and some roads in Melbourne. These sines could be used all over Canberra for different traffic conditions as they happpen.

Jivrashia 2:13 pm 28 Sep 09

Aaah. So it IS the school holidays.

Due to the lack of traffic this morning while heading in to work I almost believed that I’d got my days wrong and in fact it was Sunday.

You do realise that this is a social phenomenon unique to Canberra (doesn’t happen in Melbourne or Sydney).

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