Pedestrian Safety

It is the law in Ontario

Drivers and cyclists must stop and wait for pedestrians and school crossing guards to cross the entire road at:

  • Pedestrian crossovers
  • School crossings
  • Any locations when a crossing guard is present

Safety tips for walking

  • See and be seen
  • Only cross at crosswalks or intersections
  • Pay attention and stay alert
  • Use the sidewalk
  • Supervise children when near traffic

See and be seen

  • Make eye contact with drivers and cyclists as they approach
  • Be cautious while walking at dawn or dusk, when it is hardest to see or be seen
  • Wear or place reflective material on your clothing, the more the better

Only cross at crosswalks or intersections

Drivers, cyclists or other road users expect pedestrians to cross at these places so they can be prepared.

  • Watch for and follow signs and signals for crossing the road
  • Cross only when traffic has come to a complete stop

Pay attention and stay alert

  • Avoid alcohol, drugs, using electronic devices, cell phones, wearing earbuds or other distractions while walking

Use the sidewalk

  • Use walking routes that have sidewalks whenever possible
  • When there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic when on the road
  • Stay off high speed roads that are unsafe for pedestrians
  • Keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice during the winter
  • Wear footwear with non-slip soles to avoid slips and falls

Supervise children when near traffic

The presence of parents or other caregivers helps keep children safe regardless of the road, traffic or other unsafe conditions.

Help children stay safe when they are walking outdoors:

  • Begin talking to children about safety and safety rules as soon as they start going outside for walks
  • Wait until children have the ability to judge distance, speeds and sounds like adults before allowing them to cross roads on their own - children have this ability by the time they are about ten years old

Set a good example and help children practice road safety skills:

  • Cross at an intersection or crosswalk safely
  • Obey signs, traffic lights and signals
  • Look left, right and left again
  • Explain to your child what you are doing and encourage them to do the same
  • Show children how to cross roads safely in different situations, such as when:
    • weather conditions change
    • taking a new route to a destination
    • visiting a new placemoving to a new neighbourhood
    • walking with friends for the first time
    • walking alone for the first time

Links and Resources

Region of Waterloo

What You Need to Know about New Pedestrian Crossovers - Brochure


Pedestrian Safety