Comment 89420

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted June 08, 2013 at 12:19:21 in reply to Comment 89410

And the same act defines a crosswalk as follows:

“crosswalk” means,

(a) that part of a highway at an intersection that is included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the roadway, or

(b) any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by signs or by lines or other markings on the surface; (“passage protégé pour piétons”)

The duty of drivers to yield at a crosswalk are also set out clearly:

Yielding to pedestrians

(7) When under this section a driver is permitted to proceed, the driver shall yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully within a crosswalk. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (7).

Reference: ('Interpretations, General Definitions').

I don't know how this could be any clearer, but apparently most people in Ontario are ignorant of this law!

The law is essentially the same in Ontario as in BC, but somehow it has become conventional for both motorists and police officers to ignore the duty of a driver to yield to a pedestrian crossing at any intersection. Most pedestrians also do not know what their rights are.

It would be interesting to know why the actual enforcement and driver behaviour has diverged so much between BC and Ontario, despite similar laws. I would guess the vast majority of drivers, and most police officers, don't even know that drivers must yield to crossing pedestrians. The courts also share much of the blame, since they have set the bar so high for conviction for motorists running down pedestrians in crosswalks.

Of course, there are many case of laws not being enforced, or interpreted very leniently, but this is such a basic and common case with terrible consequences that it really is surprising.

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