Ottawa personal injury lawyers: Ontario residents- new rules at pedestrian crossovers and school crossings aiming to reduce pedestrian accidents.
2016 has arrived and with it are some new rules that are aimed at reducing the number of pedestrian accidents. Beginning on January 1st, Ontario drivers and cyclists must stop and yield the whole roadway at pedestrian crossovers as well as at school crossings where there is a crossing guard displaying a school crossing stop sign. Only when pedestrians and school crossing guards are safely on the sidewalk, can drivers and cyclists proceed to drive or cycle.
Do drivers have to stop at all crossovers?
No. In Ontario, the new rules indicate that drivers must stop only at pedestrian crossovers identified with specific signs, road markings and lights. In addition, the new legislation indicates that a vehicle shall stop when a pedestrian is crossing on the roadway within a pedestrian crossover. This new rule does not apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, with the exception being when a school crossing guard is present at the crosswalk. These new laws come out of Bill 31, the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act. Part of these new rules also
state that municipal road authorities will also install new types of pedestrian crossovers on less busy roads with lower speeds.
What is the difference between a pedestrian crossover and a crosswalk?
Yes, a crossover is different than a crosswalk. The new law applies at pedestrian crossovers, not at crosswalks (with the exception of a crosswalk with a school crossing guard). The easiest way to tell the difference is a pedestrian crossover is identified by signs, markings, illuminated lights overhead and have a pedestrian push button. For a visual image of the difference between a crossover and a crosswalk, visit Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation website.
How can pedestrians reduce pedestrian accidents?
Both pedestrians and drivers need to make an effort and do their part in reducing the number of accidents in Ontario. There are many things a pedestrian can do to help reduce the number of pedestrian accidents such as:
- Don’t Jay-Walk and walk only at marked crosswalks or cross at traffic lights.
- Before crossing, make yourself visible. Let the driver see you and if possible, make eye contact.
- Wear bright, visible clothing. Try to buy shoes or clothing that reflect the light at night.
- Be careful when crossing. Don’t step out just because the light has changed. First make sure that vehicles have come to a complete stop.
- Use common sense.
How can drivers reduce pedestrian accidents?
In addition to following all road and safety rules, drivers can help in reducing accidents by:
- Paying close attention to pedestrians and the surrounding areas.
- Being particularly cautious around schools, parks or any areas where children may be playing.
- Ensuring that your car is in excellent working order.
- Not driving to close to a sidewalk.
What are the fines for breaking these rules?
Drivers and cyclists will be fined $150 to $500 as well as 3 demerit points for offences at pedestrian crossings, school crossings and at crosswalks in Ontario, where there are traffic signals. Fines will also be doubled in community safety zones.
These new rules regarding pedestrian crosswalks and pedestrian crossovers will hopefully help in reducing the number of pedestrian accidents in Ontario. We all have a part in this, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Sadly, our personal injury lawyers meet too often with pedestrians who have been severely injured and often times, the accident could have been avoided. Please, drive, cycle and walk safely.