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Pedestrian safety

Pedestrian crossovers, countdown signals and accessible signals help make the City’s roads safer for pedestrians.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving is dangerous for everyone, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists. Ontario’s Distracted Driving Law applies to the use of any hand-held communications device like a phone, tablet or gaming console. It’s illegal to use a hand-held device to text or dial, watch videos or program a GPS device while driving.

Safety tips for pedestrians and drivers

Here are a few simple actions that everyone can do to stay safe and help prevent collisions.

When walking:

  • Be seen, follow pedestrian safety signals and be aware
  • Stop, look, and listen before crossing the road, even when it is your turn to cross
  • Make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you before you proceed
  • Avoid distractions like texting, talking on your cellphone and wearing headphones when crossing the street
  • After dark, drivers cannot see people in dark clothing until it is too late. Be bright at night; wear reflective materials or lights when walking (and cycling) at night, dawn and dusk.
  • Jaywalking can be dangerous; cross at pedestrian crossings

When driving:

  • Look for pedestrians, especially when turning left or right. Don’t just look in front of you. Check the entire crosswalk for pedestrian and cyclists.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk
  • Do not use handheld electronic devices (texting or talking) or other distractions such as eating and drinking when driving. Give the road your full attention.
  • Pedestrians are hard to see at night, dawn and dusk. Be extra vigilant.
  • With the end of daylight savings time the commute home will shift to dusk. Be sure to be extra aware of your surroundings as it gets darker.
  • Drive within the posted speed limits and follow all traffic signs and signals
  • Be aware and follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present and sometimes unpredictable
  • Adjust your driving according to weather and traffic conditions
  • Keep your windshield clean and clear and your headlights on so you can better see pedestrians and they can better see you
  • Never assume a pedestrian has seen you! Always make eye contact and confirm with pedestrians that they know you’re yielding the right of way or turning.
  • Always look before you back up and check all around your vehicle for pedestrians before you go. Check your mirrors and be especially careful in driveways and parking lots.
  • Be more cautious near transit stops and stations. They are locations of high pedestrian activity that can be unpredictable.
  • Look before opening your door for pedestrians that may be walking in the street or on the sidewalk

Pedestrian crossovers

A pedestrian crossover is a type of crossing where drivers must come to a full stop to allow pedestrians to cross roads safely. Crossovers are different from crosswalks, which are usually located at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals.

Pedestrian crossovers are located on streets between intersections, at roundabouts, or at right-hand turn lanes with specific signs and pavement markings.

Crossover with signs and pavement markings*

Crossover at right-turn with signs and pavement markings*

Safety tips for using pedestrian crossovers

If you’re a pedestrian or a cyclist crossing the road:

  • If the crossover has lights, push the button to activate the lights so drivers know you want to cross
  • Make eye contact with drivers so they see you before you cross
  • Make sure all vehicles have stopped before you cross
  • Walk your bike across the road

If you’re a driver or cyclist approaching a crossover:

  • Slow down and look for pedestrians
  • Stop at the painted white triangles
  • Wait for all pedestrians to cross the road completely
  • Don’t pass other stopped vehicles

Fines

Drivers must come to a full stop at crossovers to allow pedestrians to cross safely. If you do not stop completely for pedestrians at a crossover, you can be fined up to $1000 and issued four demerit points on your driver’s licence. For more information, contact the Ministry of Transportation.

Pedestrian traffic signals

These signals help pedestrians cross the street at intersections with traffic lights. The City installs signals at busy intersections and crossings in the middle of a block (mid-block crossings) on City streets.

Safety tips for using pedestrian signals

  • If there is a push button present, press it and wait for the walk signal to appear. The button sends a signal to the traffic computer that someone is waiting to cross.
  • Don’t start crossing until the walk signal appears
  • Don’t start crossing if the solid orange hand signal appears. You may not have enough time to cross the street.
  • If you’re already halfway across and the solid orange hand signal starts flashing, keep walking

Countdown signals

Pedestrian countdown signals show a numerical countdown so you can see how much time you have left to safely cross the street. The City installs these at locations with a high volume of pedestrians. Countdown signals also give pedestrians more time to cross.

Accessible signals

Accessible or audible pedestrian signals help individuals who are blind or visually impaired to cross the road safely. In North America, these signals indicate north south crossings with a cuckoo sound, and east west crossings with a peeping (or Canadian Melody) sound.

Contact us

If you have any questions about pedestrian crossovers or signals or a pedestrian signal on a City road is not working properly, please call 311 (905-615-4311 outside City limits).

If you have a question or concern about a pedestrian signals on a regional road, please contact the Region of Peel.

*Images courtesy of the Ministry of Transportation and the Region of Peel