Road safety: Pedestrians

New rules at pedestrian crossovers and school crossings

As of January 1, 2016, drivers - including cyclists - must stop and yield the whole roadway at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a crossing guard.

These new rules do not apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, unless a school crossing guard is present.

Only when pedestrians and school crossing guards have crossed and are safely on the sidewalk can drivers and cyclists proceed.

There are four types of pedestrian crossovers in Ontario. Three of them are new designs. See Q9 below.

It is up to both drivers and pedestrians to keep everyone safe on Ontario roads. Learn more about how to stay safe as a pedestrian and as a driver.


For pedestrians

It is up to both drivers and pedestrians to keep everyone safe on Ontario roads. Learn more about how to stay safe as a pedestrian and as a driver.

  • Cross only at marked crosswalks or traffic lights. Don't cross in the middle of the block or between parked cars.
  • Make sure drivers see you before you cross. If the driver is stopped, make eye contact before you step into the road.
  • Wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips, especially at dusk or when it's dark.
  • At a traffic light:
    • Cross when traffic has come to a complete stop.
    • Begin to cross at the start of the green light or “Walk” signal, where provided.
    • Do not start to cross if you see a flashing “Do Not Walk” symbol or the light turns yellow.  If you already started to cross, complete your crossing in safety.
    • Never cross on a red light.
  • Watch for traffic turning at intersections or turning into and leaving driveways.

For drivers

Pay special attention to pedestrians as you drive. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Always look for pedestrians, especially when turning.
  • Watch for children. Drive slowly and cautiously through school zones, residential areas, or any other area where children could be walking or playing.
  • Watch out for Community Safety Zone signs that indicate areas where public safety is a special concern, including the possibility of encountering pedestrians.
  • Be patient, especially with seniors or pedestrians with disabilities who need more time to cross the road.
  • Drive carefully near streetcar stops with islands or zones for passengers getting on and off. Pass them at reasonable speeds, and always be ready in case pedestrians make sudden or unexpected moves.

Fines

Drivers will be fined $150 to $500 and 3 demerit points for offences at pedestrian crossings, school crossings and at crosswalks where there are traffic signals. The maximum fine for running a red light - a practice that puts pedestrians at risk - is $200 to $1000.

Fines are doubled in Community Safety Zones, near schools and public areas. These areas are clearly marked with signs.


For parents

Show your children how to cross a road safely. Teach them to:

  • Stay to the side of the road, walking as far away from traffic as they safely can
  • Stop at the edge of the sidewalk, and look both ways before crossing the road
  • Take extra care on roadways that have no curbs
  • Watch out for blind corners (for example, a car coming out of an alley may not see a child pedestrian about to cross).

New Pedestrian Safety Changes - Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the new law for pedestrians?

Q2: Why are cyclists included with cars in this law?

Q3: Why did the province make this change?

Q4: Where does the new law apply? Not apply?

Q5: What is the difference between a pedestrian crossover and a crosswalk? Are they different?

Q6: What is a school crossing?

Q7: Does the law apply province wide?

Q8: What are the penalties?

Q9: Are there any new types of crossovers where this law will apply?

Q1: What is the new law for pedestrians?

As of January 1, 2016, drivers - including cyclists - must stop and yield the whole roadway at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a crossing guard.

These new rules do not apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, unless a school crossing guard is present.

Only when pedestrians and school crossing guards have crossed and are safely on the sidewalk can drivers and cyclists proceed.

Q2: Why are cyclists included with cars in this law? 

Cyclists must follow the same rules as drivers and may face the same fine as drivers – the new law requires cyclists to stop and yield the whole roadway to pedestrians and school crossing guards before proceeding.

Q3:  Why did the province make this change?

This new law is intended to make roads safer for school children, pedestrians and school crossing guards.  Pedestrians, school children and school crossing guards are among the most vulnerable road users. The new law responds to recommendations related to pedestrian safety in the Chief Coroner’s Report on Pedestrian Deaths released in 2012 and also to numerous requests from municipalities and safety organizations.

Q4: Where does the new law apply?  Not apply?

Applies at:

Does not apply at:

  • All pedestrian crossovers.
  • School crossings and any location where a school crossing guard is present.
  • Crosswalks – with or without traffic signals or stop signs – unless a school crossing guard is present

Q5: What is the difference between a pedestrian crossover and a crosswalk?

The new law applies at all pedestrian crossovers, not at crosswalks, unless a school crossing guard is present.

Pedestrian crossovers are identified by specific signs, pavement markings and lights; some have illuminated overhead lights/warning signs and pedestrian push buttons.

diagram of a pedestrian crossover. The image shows a mid-block pedestrian crossover on a four-lane roadway. Two large white X marks appear on the roadway in the two lanes approaching the crossover. The crossover is marked by two sets of double white bars which run across the roadway. Two rectangular signs with a large black X and the word “pedestrians” in black on a white background are installed at the crossover on each side of the roadway – underneath, there are two signs with the message “stop for pedestrians”. Two rectangular amber signs with a black X marking are installed over the roadway, one for each direction of travel. There are two round amber lights near the inside edges of the rectangular amber signs. Pedestrians are crossing the road. Cars and a bicycle are stopped at the crossover. They must wait until pedestrians are on the sidewalk across the road before they proceed.

Drivers and cyclists must wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road. There are 3 new types of pedestrian crossovers (see Q9 below).

A crosswalk is a crossing location usually found at intersections with traffic signals, pedestrian signals or stop signs. A crosswalk can be:

  • the portion of a roadway that connects sidewalks on opposite sides of the roadway into a continuous path; or,
  • the portion of a roadway that is indicated for pedestrian crossing by signs, lines or other markings on the surface of the roadway at any location, including an intersection. 
diagram of crosswalks at an intersection with traffic signals and pedestrian signals. The image shows a four-way intersection of two two-lane roadways. There are two traffic signals for each direction of travel. There are four crosswalks which link the corners of the intersection.  Each crosswalk is marked by two parallel white bars that run across the roadway. There is a pedestrian signal at each end of every crosswalk. Cars and bicycles are stopped at stop lines marked by white bars on one roadway. Stopped cars and bicycles are facing a red light. Pedestrians who face a lit-up “walking person” symbol in white on the pedestrian signal are crossing the roadway. When this symbol is not lit up and the orange hand symbol is lit up, pedestrians are not allowed to enter the crosswalk. Cars and bicycles proceed through the intersection when the traffic light they face turns green.

Illustration of crosswalks at an intersection with traffic signals and pedestrian signals

Q6: What is a school crossing?

A school crossing is any pedestrian crossing where a school crossing guard is present and displaying a school crossing stop sign.

diagram of an example of a school crossing. The image shows a mid-block pedestrian crosswalk on a two-lane roadway marked by two sets of double white bars which run across the roadway. Two rectangular signs with black symbols of two school children crossing on a fluorescent yellow green background are installed at the school crossing on each side of the roadway – underneath, there are two fluorescent yellow green signs with the message “school crossing” in black. A school crossing guard is showing a school crossing stop sign to cars and bicycles stopped at the crossing. Children are crossing the road. Cars and bicycles must wait until the school crossing guard and children crossing the road are on the sidewalk across the roadway before they proceed.

Drivers and cyclists must wait until children, school crossing guards and all pedestrians have completely crossed the road

Q7: Does the law apply province wide?

As of January 1, 2016 the new law applies province wide to all pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a school crossing guard.

Q8: What are the penalties?

Drivers and cyclists may face a fine in the range of $150-$500 – drivers may also face 3 demerit points. Fines will be doubled in community safety zones.

Q9: Are there any new types of crossovers where this law applies?

Yes. In response to requests from municipalities for more options for pedestrian crossovers, road authorities may choose to install one of the new types of crossovers.The law also applies at these new types of pedestrian crossovers.

diagram of a pedestrian crossover. The image shows a mid-block pedestrian crossover on a two-lane roadway. A ladder crosswalk, consisting of many white parallel bars between two perpendicular white outer lines, runs across the roadway. A yield to pedestrians line made of white triangles with the bottom points facing the direction of approaching traffic appears on the roadway in each direction of travel before the crossover. These lines look like shark teeth. There are two rectangular signs with a black symbol of a person crossing from right to left on a white background installed at the crossover: one on a pole on the side of the roadway and another one above the roadway facing approaching traffic. There is a rectangular flashing light above the sign on the side of the roadway and underneath a sign which reads “stop for pedestrians”. The signs and light are also installed on the other side of the crossover, but the black symbols show a person crossing from right to left. Pedestrians are crossing the road. Cars and a bicycle are stopped at the shark teeth lines. They must wait until pedestrians are on the sidewalk across the road before they proceed.

Drivers and cyclists must wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road

diagram of a pedestrian crossover. The image shows a mid-block pedestrian crossover on a two-lane roadway. A ladder crosswalk, consisting of many white parallel bars between two white outer lines, runs across the roadway. A yield to pedestrians line made of white triangles with the bottom points facing the direction of approaching traffic appears on the roadway in each direction of travel before the crossover. These lines look like shark teeth. A rectangular sign with a black symbol of a person crossing the road from right to left on a white background is installed at the crossover on the side of the roadway. There is a rectangular flashing light above the sign and a sign underneath which reads “stop for pedestrians”. The signs and light are also installed on the other side of the crossover, but the black symbols show a person crossing from right to left. Pedestrians are crossing the road. Cars and a bicycle are stopped at the shark teeth lines. They must wait until pedestrians are on the sidewalk across the road before they proceed.

Drivers and cyclists must wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road

diagram of a pedestrian crossover. The image shows a mid-block pedestrian crossover on a two-lane roadway. A ladder crosswalk, consisting of many white parallel bars between two white outer lines, runs across the roadway. A yield to pedestrians line made of white triangles with the bottom points facing the direction of approaching traffic appears on the roadway in each direction of travel before the crossover. These lines look like shark teeth. A rectangular sign with a black symbol of a person crossing from right to left on a white background is installed at the crossover on the side of the roadway. There is also a sign which reads “stop for pedestrians” under that sign. The signs are also installed on the other side of the crossover, but the black symbols show a person crossing from right to left. Pedestrians are crossing the road. Cars and a bicycle are stopped at the shark teeth lines. They must wait until pedestrians are on the sidewalk across the road before they proceed.

Drivers and cyclists must wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road


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