Chapter 7: Sharing the Road

In this chapter

    Pedestrians have the right-of-way at both marked and unmarked crosswalks.

    Unmarked crosswalks — These are extensions of sidewalks across a road at an intersection. No markings or signs are required. However, precaution should be taken at all times.

    Marked crosswalks — These include crosswalks at intersections controlled by traffic lights, school crosswalks and pedestrian crosswalks.

    As a driver

    You must stop and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are crossing the roadway, unless they’re on the opposite side of a divided highway separated by a median. A double solid line is not a physical separation.

    • It’s illegal to pass traffic ahead of you that is slowing down or stopped for pedestrians.
    • Proceed only when the pedestrians have safely crossed the street or have safely reached the median of a divided roadway.
    • No parking or stopping is allowed within three metres of a crosswalk.
    • All pedestrians have the right to use school crosswalks.

    Crosswalk Signs

    School crosswalk sign

    School Crosswalk Sign

    Pedestrian crosswalk sign

    Pedestrian Crosswalk Sign

    As a pedestrian

    Walking figure

    The Walking Figure
    This indication permits you to leave the curb and enter the roadway. For reasons of efficiency, this indication is only displayed for a relatively short period of time.

    The Orange Hand
    This indication immediately follows the Walking Figure indication. The Orange Hand provides sufficient time for those pedestrians already in the roadway (pedestrian clearance interval) to complete their crossing. At certain intersections the orange hand may flash during the interval provided for pedestrians to complete their crossing and clear the roadway. Pedestrians facing the Orange Hand indication must not begin to cross the roadway, as there may not be sufficient time to do so safely.

    When pedestrians are in a crosswalk facing either the Walking Figure or the Orange Hand indication, they have the right-of-way over all vehicles. However, if the vehicle operator does not yield the right-of-way, the pedestrian will come off second best in any resulting collision. Regardless of the pedestrian signal displayed, the safest practice is for the pedestrian to be sure that all approaching vehicles are stopped before proceeding into or across the roadway. In particular, even if cross-street traffic is stopped, pedestrians should check for turning vehicles.

    The length of the pedestrian clearance interval is based upon average walking speed. Consequently, pedestrians must cross the roadway as quickly as possible.

    Walking figure

    Pedestrian push buttons

    Pedestrian push button

    At many intersections controlled by traffic signal lights, pedestrian activity is intermittent. For reasons of intersection operating efficiency, the Walking Figure indication will not be displayed automatically during each signal cycle. To ensure that the Walking Figure indication is displayed and to provide sufficient clearance time to cross the entire roadway, the pedestrian must activate the correct push button. Signs with arrows pointing in the direction of the crosswalk are provided to indicate which push button is associated with each crosswalk.

    Pedestrian Safety Tips

    The pedestrian signals give you certain rights while you are in an intersection. However, they will not protect you from careless motorists. It’s therefore important to be cautious when crossing busy intersections and to follow these safety tips:

    • Don’t leave the curb unless you are sure that approaching vehicles on the cross street have stopped or will stop.
    • Cross the street as quickly as possible.
    • Always watch for turning vehicles.
    • Don’t leave the curb when the Walking Figure is not displayed.
    • Always activate the pedestrian push button if there’s one present.
    • Don’t cross at places where a Pedestrian Prohibited sign is posted.
    Pedestrian prohibited

    Pedestrian Prohibited