Comment 91233

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted August 22, 2013 at 14:01:43 in reply to Comment 91229

I should probably be a little more generous (or at least comprehensive) in my comments on the deliberately misleading crosswalk policy of many municipal Ontario traffic engineers.

The source of confusion about pedestrian crosswalks in Ontario is due to two distinct parts of the Highway Traffic Act,

  1. The duty of drivers to yield to all pedestrians legally crossing at a crosswalk, where a crosswalk is the extension of the sidewalks at any intersection regardless of what signs or markings it has, even if it has none at all. 'Legally crossing' obviously does not include pedestrians crossing against a red light, for example.

  2. The regulations of the Act define a special case of a crosswalk, called a 'crossover', which is indeed quite peculiar as it only ever seems to to have been used extensively in Toronto. This beast is a set of white lines indicating where the crosswalk is, together with illuminated overhead yellow and black signs with an amber light with push button, street signs (white with a black X) and another set of pavement markings warning motorists that there is a crossover ahead. This 'crossover' has not been widely adopted because it is so complicated, with its panoply of signs and lights that it usually makes more sense to simply install a traffic light (even though a pedestrian activated traffic light currently costs $125k, at least in Hamilton).

Here is an image from the Driver's handbook:

As you can see, these full 'crossovers' are pretty rare outside Toronto!

So the traffic engineers are right that if a City wants to specially mark a crosswalk, the Act (or at least the regulations) provide only the 'crossover' solution. However, it is obvious that crossovers are not the only intersection drivers must yield to pedestrians, otherwise we wouldn't have school crossings!

However, the traffic engineers are dead wrong and highly irresponsible to claim that motorists don't have to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk (i.e., an intersection). The panoply of signs constituting a 'crossover' is simply an extra reminder to motorists to yield, it is not open season on pedestrians at other intersections, as is made crystal clear in the sections of the HTA that Ryan quoted.

It is simply unconscionable for traffic engineers to state that motorists have no duty to yield to pedestrians crossing at an intersection. To put it bluntly, this is either incompetence or an outright lie.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2013-08-22 14:05:20

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