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Speed Zone Signs

What are they?

posted speedSpeed zone signs indicate to motorists the maximum legal vehicle speed which is permitted on a section of roadway. Maximum Speed Limit signs shall be located at the beginning and at the end of various speed zones as well as at appropriate intermediate locations.

The Maximum Speed Ahead sign shall be erected to indicate to motorists that they are approaching a section of roadway in which the speed limit has been reduced.

Where are they used?

Under the Motor Vehicle Act, the lowest legal speed limit for urban and residential streets is 50 km/h. Signs are not required for enforcement of this provision unless it is necessary to reinforce a maximum 50 km/h limit on rural highways or major aterials. Therefore, our policy is not to install speed zone signs on these roadways. "Maximum 50 km/h" speed limit signs may be erected on the entrances to subdivisions when the entrance is off of a roadway having a higher posted maximum speed limit.

How are speed limits determined?

The process for establishing an appropriate speed limit for a given roadway is generally governed by determining the 85th percentile speed as well as considering other factors such as roadway geometry, accident history and adjacent land use.  A widely accepted principle is to set speed limits as near as practicable to the speed below which 85% of the vehicles are traveling on the highway. Experience has shown that approximately 85% of motorists drive at a speed that is reasonable and prudent. Speed limits established in this manner encourage voluntary compliance because they appear reasonable to the public.

There is a common misconception that lowering the posted speed limit will cause motorists to react accordingly. However, experience has proven that unrealistically low speed limits will invite violation by responsible drivers.