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.
Ottawa Accident Lawyer David Hollingsworth , Personal Injury Lawyers . Good news for Ottawa cyclists….
Improve Safety in Ottawa: Reducing bicycle accidents, cycling accidents
Personal injuries occur everyday that could be prevented, including injuries to innocent bicyclists who would be more safe on dedicated bicycle paths in the City of Ottawa. I am happy to share that The City of Ottawa intends to continue development of some key sections of the bicycle network in our city. The NCC may contribute to the initiative with five projects under consideration for 2011, which would help to link current pathways and to set up new pathways with improved access to key institutions, transit stations and communities. The Ottawa Citizen reports that this could cost in the realm of $7.7 million. Ottawa Council approved the long-range Ottawa Cycling Plan in 2008. According to the Ottawa Citizen, The Plan calls for 1,200 new km of bike lanes, multi-use pathways and bike-friendly paved shoulders over 20 years. Council also approved a $26 million spending plan over five years for the first phase of the project, which includes closing some of the gaps. The proposed pathways are designated in the cycling plan as future off-road cycling routes, and in a 2006 report, the NCC referred to four of them as projects to be constructed within 10 years, the staff report says.
The Ottawa Citizen notes that although the city hasn’t made a formal request, the NCC is aware of the staff report’s recommendations and “shares the city’s objectives of improving the pathway network,” said NCC spokesman Jean Wolff. Mona Abouhenidy, the city’s program manager of transportation strategic planning, said the NCC has so far been supportive of making the capital region more cycling-friendly, so she’s hopeful a cost-sharing agreement can be worked out.
Will this lower the rate of Ottawa cycling accidents?
Ottawa City staff are also exploring what other projects could be proposed for next year that wouldn’t involve the NCC. “The ultimate objective is to create better and safer facilities for cyclists, so it becomes a more attractive mode of transportation,” Abouhenidy said. Between 2000 and 2009, the city added about 160 kilometres of new bike routes to its network. Including projects already underway in 2010, the city will have about 560 kilometres of the routes by the end of the year, Abouhenidy said.
Planners look at what cycling-friendly facilities can be added at the same time as other projects such as road reconstructions are done, she said. And city policies call for pedestrian and cycling facilities to be included on new and reconstructed roads. But it’s more of a challenge to link bike routes in older communities, where rights-of-way are limited and there are competing interests among drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, Abouhenidy said. And, of course, finding the money is always a challenge.
The Ottawa Citizen reports that city councilors such as Clive Doucet (Capital), Diane Holmes (Somerset), Christine Leadman (Kitchissippi), Maria McRae (River) and Rainer Bloess (Innes) were consulted for the staff report because the proposed work takes place in their wards, and all said they support filling the gaps. All but one of the proposed paths are within seven kilometers of Parliament Hill, a distance that takes about 20 minutes cycling at a moderate pace, the report says. They all connect to an off-road route or a street that has a bike lane.
If approved by the transportation committee, the proposal would go before council on Aug. 25. Meanwhile, the city is also conducting a cycling safety study, and on its website is asking for input on dangerous areas. Staff will then analyze up to 20 sites deemed to be well-used but “difficult.” It’s expected the study will be finished by the end of the year, “but an on-going program will be developed based on many of the recommendations made within this project,” according to the city.
The cycling plan will be conducive to a more “green” lifestyle contributing to less of an ecological footprint on our environment and notably, I hope will produce more safety for everyone on the roads, so that we can prevent personal injury and harm form occurring to you and your loved ones.
For more information related to cycling accidents and compensation, visit www.ottawainjury.ca/cycling-accidents/
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