Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pedestrian Do's and Dont's

Over the last few days as the Toronto Police have aggressively been raising the bar of awareness regarding pedestrian safety I have been answering recurring questions about what is a pedestrian offence.

One of the steps that must be taken in solving any problem is ensuring that there is an understanding of what is required, the guidelines, the route to the desired outcome.

In explaining what the offences were that pedestrians could be committing, it dawned on me that many people don't know the rules, the guidelines...the law.

So, to hopefully clear up some obvious confusion, here goes!

Signalized Intersections
The only time you are allowed to enter onto the road way at a signalized intersection is when the pedestrian control facing the direction you want to travel indicates a walk symbol. If there is no pedestrian control, you can only enter the roadway when the green light is on for the direction you want to travel.

If the don't walk symbol is illuminated either flashing or solid, you can not enter onto the roadway. You must remain off the roadway until a walk symbol is on.

If there is a countdown timer with the don't walk symbol you can not enter the roadway.

The flashing don't walk symbol, solid don't walk symbol and countdown timer are only indications that the lights are about to change and if you are on the roadway, you better get off before cross traffic commences.

If you enter the roadway on any of those symbols you are breaking the law.

Consider those symbols "amber lights for pedestrians". If you have started, finish. If you haven't started, don't start.

To summarize the above....WALK SIGNAL GO, ANYTHING ELSE STAY.

J-Walking - Crossing Mid Block
This is not illegal as long as you do not interfere with traffic. That means if you cause a vehicle to alter its course because of your presence on the road (slowing, steering to avoid you) while you are crossing you have broken the law. If you cross the street, never interfere with traffic, you break no laws.

Failing to use crosswalk/crossover
If there are lines on the roadway that indicate where pedestrians are to cross the roadway, you must walk within them; from start to cutting into or out of them. This dictates a straight line across the road. Crosswalks are the lines at intersections and Crossovers are the pedestrian cross sites must commonly known as PXO's. Don't cross within them, you break the law.

Stepping onto the roadway at a PXO in such a way that you do not afford vehicles a chance to stop is also illegal. To properly use a PXO you have to activate the overhead lights, allow vehicles to stop and point your way across the road.

You can not enter onto the roadway to board a streetcar until the streetcar stops.

For our drivers (Right from the Highway Traffic Act)
Every pedestrian who lawfully enters a roadway in order to cross may continue the crossing as quickly as reasonably possible despite a change in the indication he or she is facing and, for purposes of the crossing, has the right of way over vehicles

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