School Zones in British Columbia – 2024 Driver’s Guide

What are the school zone hours in BC?

School zone signs are in the shape of a house and are in effect 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM on school days unless otherwise posted, including posted summer school days.

Are school zones in effect during summer in BC?

Some school zones are in effect during summer in British Columbia. Those schools with summer school in session will have an obvious “summer school in session” sign attached to the school zone sign so that drivers don’t need to be confused. Otherwise, school zones are not in effect during summer, winter, spring break, or other non-school days.

School zones in British Columbia
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Summer school in session sign Burnaby, British Columbia.

What is the fine for speeding in a school zone in BC?

Speeding in a school zone will cost at least $196 to $253 in British Columbia, and comes with three driver penalty points.

MVATicket Fine Points
147(1)Speed in a school zone​$196-$253​3
​147(2)​Speed in a playground zone​​$196-$253​3
​148(1)​​Excessive speed​$368-$483​3

British Columbia School Zone Signs

More School Zone Signs British Columbia

Here is the classic school zone sign. Notice the shape of the sign. It looks a bit like a house, and the sign has the 30 km/hr tab underneath. The speed limit is on a sign with a white background, so we know that’s a regulation sign (speed signs on a yellow background are recommendations, not law).

School zone sign British Columbia
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School Zone Sign in British Columbia

Exclusive school zone sign shape

The school zone sign is the only sign that uses this particular shape. In other words, you’ll never see a sign with this shape, saying “Stop” or anything else on it. This is the dedicated shape of the school zone sign for British Columbia.

School Zone Sign Without Speed Limit

Sometimes people get confused when they see school zone signs without a speed limit tab attached.

Simply, if there’s no speed limit attached to the sign, then the speed limit on the road you are on doesn’t change because of the sign. Your job as a driver is to read the road signs, not to be psychic.

Where Does The School Zone End?

Look for the backs of road signs – a particular shape

If you want to figure out where the school zone ends, then look for the back of the sign. It’s a very particular shape. You will find it on the opposite side of the road for the traffic facing you.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this is a little bizarre, and would rather just have another sign to indicate the end of the zone. But this is just the way it is around here.

I guess it makes sense; it just feels strange to try to be searching bushy and hard-to-see areas on the opposite side of the road. I thought there would be somewhere better for my eyes to be looking, but oh well. I guess it’s a nice idea in theory.

End of School Zone British Columbia
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ICBC Learn to Drive Smart Booklet

School Zones In Burnaby – 7 am until 10 pm

Burnaby School Zones Are Now in Effect From 7 am Until 10 pm

Burnaby has some interesting school zones. It recently (March 2021) updated its city’s school zone laws, and has shiny new signs to go with them.

The new laws indicate that the school zones are in effect from 7 am until 10 pm.

Burnaby isn’t the first or only city to change its school zones. Vancouver also made some changes to theirs.

Speed Restriction When Children On Highway Road Sign

School and Playground Zones “When Children On Highway”

Question: I have a question about school and playground zones. Sometimes I see the playground zone speed limitation. Once I was driving around a playground in Maple Ridge, and the sign says “30km/h when children on the highway”.

I could see children playing inside the playground, but they’re nobody actually on the road or the shoulder, so should I drive at 30 or 50?

Black And White Signs

You only ‘have to slow down to the posted speed when the child/children are on the road or shoulder.

children on highway sign
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School zones often perplex new drivers, especially during summer when there may be summer school, or children obviously playing at lots of different parks, playgrounds, and schools.

The thing to remember is that you’re not supposed to be psychic.

Just like any other time you’re driving, your job is to pay attention to the road signs and follow their instructions. If you see an area where kids are playing but there are no speed signs, then you aren’t officially in a speed zone.

However – just like any other time you are driving – you can always slow down if you think it’s a good idea for that particular moment. It’s part of being a good defensive driver.

During summer, school zones are not in effect, unless they have an obvious ‘summer school’ tab attached.

Oh and one more thing: by the time your vehicle gets to the playground zone or school zone sign, your vehicle needs to be going a maximum of 30 km/hr already.

Many student drivers ask if you must slow down before you see the sign, or after you see the sign. The answer is before so that your car is going to the legal limit once your car reaches the post that the sign is on.

That’s just good to know, especially for road tests. Similarly, do not speed before you are out of the speed zone. Wait until your vehicle is actually past the end of the zone sign to increase speed. If you are preparing for your ICBC road test, be sure to check out these popular articles: ICBC Road Test Tips for Class 5 & 7 [Instructor Gets Deep] and ICBC Road Test Class 5 vs 7 [Prepare & Conquer].

Carmen Cohoe

Carmen became a driving instructor in beautiful North Vancouver at the age of 22 due to some crazy people who agreed to hire her. After that, there was never a dull moment teaching many different folks from many different places how to drive using automatic and standard vehicles and a minivan.

81 thoughts on “School Zones in British Columbia – 2024 Driver’s Guide

  • Faizah


    • Anonymous

      There are places where you can enter a 30 km/h playground zone but never really exit it – there is just no sign on the left side. And it works the other way – you just make a few turns and suddenly you see a playground zone sign on the left side. In the test I ended up driving at 30 km/h all the way until exiting the neighborhood and passed with flying colors, but what’s the correct way of handling such situations?

      • I’m not sure what you mean, maybe you can show me on the map where you’re talking about … whenever I’m driving I find it pretty clear to understand where these zones stop and start … let me know where you were ..!

        • Anonymous

          Start here:

          Then go uphill to the Battle St. W, take a left turn and technically it’s still a playground zone. But the fun still goes on: take the 1st right turn onto the Boundary Rd and then a left turn onto the Grandview Terrace – and with this route the playground zone still continues :-).

  • Stephanie

    I moved to BC from Calgary .. there it is a ticketable offence to PASS at anytime in a school (& possibly playground) zone EVEN if you are doing the speed limit of 30km. (I’m talking when there are 2 lanes heading same way) I found out about it b/c a friend got a ticket for that & I saw someone get one .

    Q: Is that the case here? I see people passing often, esp. in specific area & can be dangerous if we don’t see a child ..

  • Strphanie

    I moved to BC from Calgary .. there it is a ticketable offence to PASS at anytime in a school (& possibly playground) zone EVEN if you are doing the speed limit of 30km. (I’m talking when there are 2 lanes heading same way) I found out about it b/c a friend got a ticket for that & I saw someone get one .

    Q: Is that the case here? I see people passing often, esp. in specific area & can be dangerous if we don’t see a child ..

  • Tyler

    hey I was wondering when you come to a sign that says 30 when kids are present is it illegal to drive 30 or is that illegal? do I have to drive 50 until I see kids asking because I failed my road test I only slowed down to 40 but they were hiding behind trees. would it be illegal to drive 30 through there!

    • PINAR

      Hi, I failed for the same reason. It is not fair. I did all my best for every other thing. Only this reason, even though I told him that I know the rule but there are lots of kids around, he did not listen to me. Tomorrow I will have another road test and I am so nervous, that I could not know what the examiner wants me to do.

  • Laura

    Hi Carmen,
    My son has attempted several road tests with no luck. I am quite comfortable driving with him now so I would say he’s pretty competent behind the wheel.
    Is it helpful prior to beginning a road test to let the examiner know that you have tried many times to get your N. Do they care at all if you
    experience nervousness under the gaze of an examiner?

    • Hi!!
      Sorry to hear about that. I think they are well aware that everyone is nervous. It would be weird if someone wasn’t. I think every test lives in its own vacuum. For sure You can let them know if you like, but they still have to judge the driver based on their behaviour on the current test. There were several students when I worked at the driving school who went through the full training program and multiple instructors signed off on them being perfectly capable, (i.e. the instructor would feel fine going to sleep while that driver was driving; in theory you know) and then they failed the road test 8 or 9 times. Some people just get very nervous. So just keep trying if you are sure that’s the problem, or, you could get 1 assessment lesson from a reputable driving instructor to check their driving skills. Not sure if he’s had any lessons, but The driving they are looking for on the road test is quite specific and detailed, and can differ quite a lot from common conceptions. Even I was nervous as a driving instructor when I went to get my Class 4 license. It’s really scary when someone is watching your every move. I hope that helps..

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