Pedestrian Rights: Know the Facts

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In order to keep Ontario roads safe, it is the responsibility of both drivers and pedestrians to practice safety measures – it is not just the drivers’ responsibility.


As of January 1, 2016, all drivers – cyclists included – must stop and yield the whole roadway at school crossings, pedestrian crossovers, and other locations where there are crossing guards. These new rules, however, do not apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with traffic signals or stop signs, unless a school crossing guard is present. Drivers and cyclists can proceed only when pedestrians and school crossing guards have crossed safely and are on the sidewalk.


For Pedestrians

Pedestrians should follow these guidelines:

*Cross only at traffic lights or marked crosswalks. Do not cross between parked cars or in the middle of the block.

*Make sure that the drivers see you before you cross. If the driver is stopped, make eye contact first before proceeding to step into the road.

*Wear bright or light-coloured clothing especially at dusk or when it’s dark. They can also wear reflective strips.

*Watch for traffic turning at intersections, or into and leaving driveways.

*At a traffic light:

-Cross only when traffic has come to a complete stop.

-Cross at the start of the green light or “Walk” signal if available.

-Do not start to cross if you see a flashing “Do Not Walk” symbol or when the light turns yellow. If you already started to cross, make sure to complete your crossing in safety.

-Never cross on a red light.


For Parents

Parents should teach their children how to safely cross a road. Teach them to:

*Stop at the edge of the sidewalk and look both ways before crossing.

*Stay to the side of the road – walk as far away from traffic as they safely can.

*Take extra caution on roadways that have no curbs.

*Watch out for blind corners. For instance, a car coming out of an alley might not see a child pedestrian about to cross.


For Drivers

Since you are inside your respective vehicles, you have to pay extra attention to pedestrians. You can:

*Always look for pedestrians – especially when making a turn.

*Watch out for children. Drive slowly and cautiously through residential areas, school zones, parks, or any other area where children could be walking or playing.

*Watch out for Community Safety Zone signs. These signs indicate areas where public safety is a special concern – including the presence of pedestrians.

*Drive carefully near streetcar stops with zones or islands for passengers getting on and off. Always be ready just in case pedestrians make sudden or unexpected moves. Always pass them at reasonable speeds.