How to Stay Safe if You are a Pedestrian

Walking in Toronto and Ontario is dangerous, according to the numbers reported by two different news outlets. CBC News reported late last year that the number of pedestrian deaths in Ontario was 66 percent higher on November 13, 2016, than it was for the same time period in 2015 (30 pedestrian deaths in 2016 versus 25 deaths in 2015).  The number of pedestrian deaths was at an 8-year high at the end of 2016.

The Star reported earlier this year that 2016 was Toronto’s deadliest year for pedestrians in a decade or more. During 2016, 43 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents in Toronto. This represented the highest number of vehicle-related pedestrian fatalities since 2005, the oldest year of data released by the city.

Toronto Pedestrian Rules

The Highway Traffic Act states that a pedestrian should only cross in pedestrian crosswalks on roads where marked crosswalks are available. However, the law does not specify how far away a pedestrian must be before he or she can legally cross the road mid-block. The Toronto police have said that 30 metres is a good “rule of thumb” to follow. In other words, pedestrians should always use a marked crosswalk unless they are over 30 metres away from the crosswalk.

If there is not a crosswalk, the law allows pedestrians to cross the road; however, pedestrians must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. It should be noted that even though the law requires a pedestrian to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic if not in a crosswalk, it does not relieve a driver’s duty of care to avoid a collision with a pedestrian.

For more information on pedestrian rules, visit the City of Toronto’s webpage.

Ontario Pedestrian Rules

Ontario has also enacted pedestrian laws to help keep people safe when crossing roads. A new law for pedestrian crossovers and school crossing went into effect on January 1, 2016. The new rule requires all motorists and bicyclists to stop and yield the “whole roadway” to a pedestrian using a pedestrian crossover, school crossing or location being controlled by a crossing guard. The crosswalk rule does not apply in cases where a crosswalk at an intersection has a traffic signal or stop sign except in the case where a crossing guard is attending the crosswalk.

Pedestrians should only cross at marked crosswalks or traffic lights. Crossing between parked vehicles or in the middle of the block is dangerous. At intersections, pedestrians should always wait for the “Walk” signal before entering the street. Never try to beat the “Do Not Walk” signal as this could result in an accident.

For more information about pedestrians in Ontario, visit Ontario’s webpage.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians, but it is also a pedestrian’s responsibility to try to avoid an accident. To that end, pedestrians need to:

  • Also remain alert – never walk while distracted by your phone or another electronic device
  • Don’t wear headphones or earphones when walking
  • Before crossing the street, look both ways and make eye contact, if possible, with a driver to ensure the driver sees you
  • Hold the hands of young children to prevent them from darting into the street
  • Use extra caution when crossing the road at dawn, dusk, or night when it is harder for motorists to see you
  • If walking or jogging, wear brightly coloured clothing and carry a flashlight, if walking at night, dawn, or dusk, to increase your visibility to motorists
  • Walk in groups for added safety

Do You Need an Ontario Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?

Regardless of what the insurance company may tell you, you may be entitled to compensation for a pedestrian accident even if you were crossing outside of a crosswalk. It is always in your best interest to consult with an experienced Ontario pedestrian accident lawyer before signing any documents or providing statements to the insurance company.

Call the team of lawyers at Diamond and Diamond for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and consultation. Call our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now.

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