School and Playground Zones

(Last Updated On: December 7, 2015)

School Zones

30 km/hr School zone signs are in the shape of a house and are 30 km/hr between 8 am and 5 pm on school days unless otherwise posted. These are not in effect during summer holidays, winter break, spring break, etc., unless it is accompanied by an obvious “Summer school” sign attached.




Playground Zones



Playground zone signs are in the shape of a diamond and are in effect dawn till dusk, every day, 365 days per year:




Signs without Speed Tabs


If you see the playground or school sign by itself (without the 30 km tab) then the speed limit is 50 km/hr unless otherwise posted (Or whatever the speed was on the road you were on before you saw the sign) In other words,Β if it doesn’t say to go 30km/hr,Β then you don’t have to go 30 km/hr *although you could always decide to slow down if you see a good reason*






Where does it end?


If you want to figure out where the zone ends, then look for the back of the sign (particular shape) on the opposite side of the road for the traffic facing you.






For more information:Β Back to School 2013 – DriveSmartBC

Many moons ago, Carmen became an ICBC-approved driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, and has spent many years working with new and experienced drivers around the lower mainland. She can be found reading the Motor Vehicle Act for fun while receiving strange looks from others. May the quest for great driving continue!

Related Post

  • MrTickles

    Question, if you’re near a school but there’s no school zone sign (or even if you’re going past a school) do you need to slow down?

  • cansal

    McMitchell park in POCO has 2 plaqyground signs that are visible only on the opposite side of the street. They are not visible to a driver until well after they enter the area adjacent to the park. Does a driver have to drive 30kmh even if the sign is not posted near the corner.

    • Hi, Do you mean there’s a playground sign only visible to vehicles going one direction , but not the other ???

  • Jzel

    Hi just wanna ask a question is it acceptable not to follow some maximum speed limit during winter season I’m taking a road test I’m not sure what to do thanks for the help

  • Ildar Idrisov

    Hi! May I ask a question?
    If it is snowing or a road wet or icy do I have to go 30 km/h on Playground zone and I can be penalized for slow driving? I’m going to have an Advanced road in two days and it’s going to be snowing heavy(

    • Hi.. you can go as slow as you think is the safe/appropriate speed. Remember 30 km/hr is the MAXIMUM speed for ideal condition in that zone.

  • Jay

    “If you see the playground or school sign by itself (without the 30 km tab) then the speed limit is 50 km/hr ”
    Is it still ok to go 30km/hr just to be safe? or Will I fail for going too slow?

    • Hi, for the road test usually you’d fail for going too slowly because it looks like you don’t know what the speed limit is.. and other drivers might be getting kinda frustrated behind you… You can always go slower if there’s a good reason.. but if there’s no good reason to go 30, then don’t!! Hope that makes sense.

  • Tarun

    Hi i have a question
    There is a sign infront of school that pickup and droop off and no parking between 8-5 so can i park my car after 5 pm till before 8 am in the morning

    • Well I think so as long as there are no other signs restricting the parking? Which school??

  • Randy Buss

    Hi Carmen. I have a road test coming up August 8th. The school zone signs are still up in the town of Hope and posted at 30 km/h. Not sure what to do. School is out for the summer and was wondering if I decide to err on the side of caution and do the 30 km/h, could I flunk the road test for doing so by driving too slow?

    • Yes yes you can flunk for driving too slowly for sure! What’s the speed limit on the road where the school is before the school zone starts? Is it 50 km/hr? Is there summer school or summer school signs?? What I would do is just ask the examiner right Before the road test just to confirm, you are allowed to ask them that before you go and any other question too.

      • Randy Buss

        Right on! Thank you for your incredibly quick reply! The posted speed on the road where the schools are is 50 km/h and there are no summer school signs. I was thinking of trying to contact the local school district ( Who knows if they can be contacted during summer break ) to ask if there are any school related activities going on in the district and thanks to your answer, I will ask the examiner before the road test. Thanks again. Very much appreciated! Oh, and another question.

        This is regarding pedestrians and cross walks. If you are approaching an uncontrolled intersection with no stop signs or traffic lights and you see a pedestrian enter the crosswalk on the far side of the intersection, where should you stop? Just before the crosswalk right before you enter the intersection? I am thinking you maybe shouldn’t be stopping in the middle of the intersection and blocking the road to any potential cross traffic. I hope this maybe kind of convoluted question makes sense. Those were the only two questions I had. I am pretty darn sure that everything else will be smooth sailing. And no, in case you may be wondering, that is not over confidence speaking, it is 40 plus years driving experience and months of brushing up on the Road Safety BC and ICBC rules of the road of today and reading many, many of your excellent Blogs! I had let my Class 1 BCDL of many years lapse for over 3 years, thus the requirement for a road test. Ok, enough of me rambling on and on. Thank you again!


        • Hi again glad you found all of this helpful I’ve been working on it more than 4 years while wondering if anyone was reading it haha.
          Did you use the search function for that question? I’m sure I wrote something about that. It’s in my ebook too which is for sale on the website all those intersection details. I don’t think you have to ask anyone if there’s any school activities going on, just keep your eyes open and remember you are always allowed to drive at whatever the hell speed you feel like is a good idea based on the circumstances … For example many small children running around near a school zone in the summer, even though the speed limit might technically be 50 km/hr, you can slow down to 30 or 40 if you think it’s a wise idea just like if you were on any other road and saw any other good reason to slow down. They just want to see that you know the rules And are using your brain to think and make common sense decisions that are smart and safe for all…. Or something like that! I’m out in the world right now but I’ll try to give you a better answer on that pedestrian question later tonight. Let me know how it goes too!!

        • Is this the situation you’re referring to? It’s good practice to never block intersections in case an emergency vehicle needs to get through, or in the case other traffic may be able to take the opportunity to proceed if there are a lot, or very slow pedestrians. Hope that answers your question. P.S. Bring on the rambling πŸ™‚

          • Randy Buss

            Hi again and yes, that is exactly the situation that I was referring to. Thank you for taking the time and effort to post a picture! ( I would have done so but wasn’t sure how ). And maybe you shouldn’t temp me to bring on the rambling as I can resist pretty much anything but temptation! πŸ™‚ I actually found myself in just that exact ped. vs my car situation in town yesterday and that is exactly where I stopped. Good thing I did as they had to stop part way through the crosswalk to take a picture of one of Hopes many, many chainsaw wood carvings. Not only did they stop about 3/4 ( in my lane of course ) of the way across, but actually took a step or two back I guess because they wanted a better shot of the carving and were a bit too close. As traffic was building behind me, I finally had to resort to one of the global skills, communication, beep my horn, made eye contact, smiled and politely motioned that they were safe to continue on across the road. They smiled, waved and carried on. ( I honestly think an examiner would have been impressed.) They didn’t take my picture though. πŸ™ Tourists. Gotta love ’em. Thanks again!


            • Sounds like a fairytale. lol. The driving school where I worked told me not to teach people to motion for other people to go, because you could be held partly liable if they went and then were involved in some kind of collision with another road user that didn’t really see the situation in the same alignment as you if you know what I mean.. I’m not sure if that’s true and I haven’t read up on the law or read cases that have gone to court. But you can also tell other road users that you’d like them to go without motioning them… by using the language of your car (keeping it completely stopped in the correct position rather than sending a possibly mixed signal by slowly keeping the car moving, stuff like that,), and eye contact.
              And yes that is interesting. I’m sure we’ve all seen pedestrians do all kinds of things: drop their keys, bend down to pick them up and then tie their shoe lace, stop and talk their friend right in the middle, then turn around and go back the other direction, or walk backwards, and or suddenly change their speed. Always good to be extra careful around them. Sounds like you are though…!

          • Randy Buss

            I just a bit ago wrote and posted ( thought I posted ) a sort of rambling but to the point reply, but upon checking back, I don’t see my post??? I’ll wait a bit to see if it shows up. My mouse is faulty so maybe I did a whole bunch of typing for nothing other than practice typing with it not posting. Grrrr?? I’ll keep an eye on this and if it posts, I will re ramble. πŸ™‚

            • Oh I have to approve them before they show up on here, I had a problem with spam.

              • Randy Buss

                Got it. I did a little snooping around and found my comment/s were “pending”. Now I will not only brush up on my driving skills, but also on my posting skills.:) Thanks again for all your help and very useful information! Much appreciated.

    • Randy Buss

      I just wanted to say thank you Carmen for your blog and all the awesome info and tips. Did my road test today ( half an hour and 20 something Km. ) Whew. Anyway, passed with only one
      ‘bad” mark. A bit of a wide right turn. Seriously. I am going to try and post a pic. If this exam sheet didn’t have that B6 Wide mark on it I think I would frame it! All of your posts/comments/videos etc. helped me out immensely. Thank you again!

      • Hey!! I think you should frame it anyway; that is excellent!! (No need for perfection ?) Congratulations!! Enjoy, thanks for letting me know and I’m so glad the website helped. ??? Take care,

  • shushigi

    Do you guys know how many school are around point grey area? And what streets have 30 km/h?

    • I think that’s the whole thing is you are supposed to be able to OBSERVE them on your own πŸ˜‰

      • shushigi

        That’s how I failed πŸ™ it was near Blenheim street I think! Is there just one school around there? Pls tell me?

        • I’m not sure off the top of my head. But remember what you are looking for are the road signs, not the actual schools.

          • shushigi

            I was so busy turning left and making sure a car doesn’t t bone me I drove past the first one not noticing
            Maybe the second time I’ll pass sigh

  • Udayana Lugo

    I’ve seen school zone signs without a speed limit, they only say “do not pass”. Does this mean you have to drive at 50Km/h and not pass or slow down to 30Km/h and not pass?

    • Hi!! If it doesn’t say 30, then it’s not a 30 km/hr zone. If it just says School area sign and no passing, then it’s probably 50 km/hr (or whatever the speed zone is that you were originally inside). It just means to be cautious and slow down IF you see a good reason to.

      • Stephanie

        Is this the same with a bike route sign with no speed limit? Or if you see the green bike sign it’s always 30? See this photo.

        • Hey I can’t see the photo, please send again or email to bcdrivingblog @ Thanks πŸ™‚

  • Stan

    Hi, I have been driving almost for 15 years, driving huge trailers and doing 3000km non – stop. I was going to switch from my international licence to BC licence and I just failed at my road test, so kind of funny. the problem was driving too slow (30km/h) after I entered school zone. There was no sign which said that the school zone ends (and I can get back to 50km/h) so I maintaned the speed of 30km/h till another sign which said 40km/h. I have been maintaing the 30km/h for about 5min. Examinator didnt tell me any proper description after. When and where exactly the speedzone of 30km ends? At the nearest intersection? I went through discussion below, but I am still not 100% sure what to do next time and how to do it very properly. Thanks

    • Here’s what it says in the ICBC book, To look for the back of the sign..

  • Marchu

    Hi. I got a towed and a parking ticket today. I parked next to a school yard. The sign said No Parking 8 am to 5 pm on school days. It is July 13th. I re-read the sign over and over again and decided that it is clearly summer break. There was no sign mentioning a special event or summer school or any other parking restriction. Does anyone have experience of this? Is it worth disputing?

    • I would dispute it. But make sure there really was/is no summer school in session there.

  • Paddie

    where does the authority come for a “40 km h when children on highway” restricted school zone? I don’t see anythink in the Motor Vehicle Act?

    • I found this online motor vehicle act description (link at bottom):

      When used below the “School Area (Warning)” sign this tab
      establishes a maximum speed zone which must be observed
      whenever a child or children are on the travelled roadway or the
      shoulders, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on school days.
      When used below the “Playground Area (Warning)” sign this tab
      establishes a maximum speed zone which must be observed
      whenever a child or children are on the travelled roadway or the
      shoulders, from dawn to dusk.
      In either case, the back of the sign assembly erected for the opposite
      direction of travel designates the end of the restricted zone. The
      symbol “km/h” placed on the tab, or on a separate tab mounted
      below, indicates that the maximum speed shown is in kilometres per
      Black on white reflectorized background

  • disqus_ZRDFQK5wTU

    What do the school zone and playground zone signs with OUT the 30km sign underneath mean?

    • It means be careful because there is a school or kids nearby but the speed limit is not 30 km. The speed limit is the usual speed limit for that road – whatever it may be regularly – normally 50 km/hr in the city/town.

      • disqus_ZRDFQK5wTU


  • Anthony Norris

    I recently got a speeding ticket after making a right hand turn after a stop sign and thinking I was in a 50km/h zone but the officer said I was in a play zone and it was only 30km/h. There were no signs after the right hand turn. I see that your explanation states that the speed limit resumes to 50km/h if there is no further signage to indicate you are still in the playground zone or speed indication. This is my case but I cannot find anything referencing that in the MVA. Could you assist in pointing me in the right direction for the appropriate legislation or act.


    • Which intersection / street was this at?

      • Anthony Norris

        I did not see the back of the opposing signage. I have gone back and their is an opposing sign but no signage after you turn right onto MacDonald Street. It is the intersection of Lancaster and MacDonald Rd in Comox.
        So, my question remains do I have any legal grounds to challenge the ticket based on the fact that, after I turned right and there was no signage to establish that I was still in the playground zone?
        Am I sunk or do I try my luck?


        • Schools and playgrounds (BC motor vehicle act)

          147 (2) A person driving a vehicle on a highway must drive the vehicle at a rate of speed not exceeding 30 km/h when approaching or passing, between dawn and dusk, a public playground for children where signs are displayed stating a speed limit of 30 km/h, or on which the numerals “30” are prominently shown.

          It may be the case that drivers are expected to look for the back of signs for the cars coming the opposite way although there is some ambiguity as often you turn off and you are in a 50 zone. How far was the distance you travelled until you saw the back of that sign, like less than 1 block? I think you may have a case.

        • omar

          you are sunk.. cuz l failed the road test in that zone..and l had big argument with the examiner ..then about the signs..

  • Dk

    My driving test is today and my roadtest is at point grey, and there is a school zone there which says 30km/h, so do i go 30 or 50 because its summer right now and some kids still might be playing in the school zone because of the playground

    • carmenac

      Maybe 40 would be good if there are kids around. You decide. The posted speed limit regulation signs are maximums, not necessarily the speed you must go all the time.

      • H

        Thanks, my road test is today as well! one more question.. If there is a stop sign but the line is like way more infront of the sign do I stop at the line or the sign itself?? Thanks

        • carmenac

          It’s all about the Line! The front bumper should be stopped behind the white line, regardless of where the stop sign is.

      • Dk

        Thanks for the help

    • Mar

      I had my road test today and got failed because I exceed in playground zone to 40mph

      • Yes playground zones are in effect EVERY DAY of the year Dawn to Dusk (AKA During ALL road tests), they are 30 KM/HR MAXIMUM!!

        • Chayne

          So there will be playground zone with 30km/h posted and without? or every playground zones are limited up to 30km/h?

  • Hope

    The school by The Surrey ICBC, do I have to go 30km during the summer? or Do I go 50km? Cause it’s not a school day & there isn’t a playground sign posted? My friend said she failed cause she didnt go 30km cause it was a playground zone according to the instructor? She took hers in the summer as well? Help?

    • carmenac

      Hi, school zones are 50 km/hr zones in summer unless it has a summer school sign posted. Playground zones are in effect every day of the year. Do not get confused as sometimes there is a school with a playground zone etc. Just read the signs instead of trying to figure out if you are at a school or a playground.

      • Rob

        It is important to distinguish between school property and school zone public roadways. Too many think that it is OK to drive at 30K on school property. As safety officer I have set the school speed limit at 5 KMH, there is no need for higher speeds. Speeds in all parking lots now need to be addressed ac common sense does not prevail.

        • That’s a good point actually. I will definitely have to rant about this soon.

  • Pingback: Freeway and Highway Sign Colours Explained | BC Driving Blog()