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Do Ontario pedestrians always have the right of way?

Pedestrians have the right of way in the province, but they also must be abiding by the traffic signals. They also must cross at either a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

Any Ontario intersection that has a sidewalk has a crosswalk, whether there are visible lines, no lines or lines that are obscured by snow. Pedestrians always have the right of way in crosswalks.

Legally, crosswalks can be designated anywhere along the road if they are designated as such with signs and/or markings. If they have both signage and markings, they are considered "pedestrian crossovers."

Stepping randomly out into the road and attempting to cross does not give a pedestrian the right of way. However, if one does do that, it does not give drivers carte blanche to just mow them down. Drivers must always realize that they are in control of a potentially lethal weapon and do all in their power to avoid striking a pedestrian.

According to R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (24), which governs pedestrians stopping at flashing green lights, "No pedestrian...facing a flashing circular green indication or a solid or a flashing left turn arrow indication in conjunction with a circular green indication shall enter the roadway."

Likewise, the statute governing pedestrians stopping at red or amber lights, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (25), states that "No pedestrian...facing a red or amber indication shall enter the roadway."

Pedestrians lawfully entering the roadway to cross may continue as quickly as is reasonably possible even when the indication changes, and have the right of way over automobiles and trucks. [R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (28)].

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident by a vehicle, you have rights under the law and may wish to seek compensation.

Source: Ontario Rules of the Road, "Do pedestrians always have the right of way?," accessed June 12, 2015

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