The Highway Traffic Act Protects Drivers and Pedestrians
It is up to both drivers and pedestrians to keep everyone safe on Ontario roads. The Highway Traffic Act
, RSO 1990, c. H.8 was created in large part to ensure that drivers of vehicles and others who use and share the road with them operate safely on Ontario streets. Learning and abiding by the rules of the road set out in the Highway Traffic Act
, RSO 1990, c. H.8 will keep people safe.
Some of the most grave and serious injuries arise between motor vehicles and pedestrians when the rules of the road are not heeded by the driver, the pedestrian or both. In 2015 Transport Canada compiled a study that showed that between 2010 and 2014 there were over 1,500 pedestrian deaths caused by motor vehicles across Canada. That number only includes motorists striking pedestrians and does not include collisions with other vehicles or bicycles; that means over 1,500 pedestrians died in Canada in 4 years because they were struck by a vehicle.
That number is shocking. It represents approximately 15% of fatalities from motor vehicle accidents. And it is not clear that there is a downward trend in these fatalities. Ontario provincial police say the number of pedestrians killed in crashes in Ontario in 2016 was the highest in eight years.
It behooves pedestrians and drivers to abide by the rules put into place to protect them.
- Cross only at marked crosswalks or traffic lights. Don't cross in the middle of the block or between parked cars.
- Make sure drivers see them before they cross. If the driver is stopped, make eye contact before stepping into the road.
- Wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips, especially at dusk or when it's dark.
- At a traffic light:
- Cross when traffic has come to a complete stop.
- Begin to cross at the start of the green light or “Walk” signal, where provided.
- Do not start to cross if you see a flashing “Do Not Walk” symbol or the light turns yellow. If you already started to cross, complete your crossing in safety.
- Never cross on a red light.
- Watch for traffic turning at intersections or turning into and leaving driveways.
- Pay special attention to pedestrians as they drive. All intersections, crosswalks, stop signs represent places where pedestrians could be expected to be moving whether in accordance with the traffic signs and signals or not. Drivers need to be vigilant to ensure that pedestrians are protected.
- As of January 1, 2016 new provisions added to the HTA require that drivers wait at crosswalks and crossovers until a pedestrian is completely off the roadway before moving through the intersection
- Always look for pedestrians, especially when turning
- Watch for children. Drive slowly and cautiously through school zones, residential areas, or any other area where children could be walking or playing.
- Watch out for Community Safety Zone signs that indicate areas where public safety is a special concern, including the possibility of encountering pedestrians.
- Be patient, especially with seniors or pedestrians with disabilities who need more time to cross the road.
- Drive carefully near streetcar stops with islands or zones for passengers getting on and off. Pass them at reasonable speeds, and always be ready in case pedestrians make sudden or unexpected moves.