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Road safety

Safer Roads Ottawa Program

The Safer Roads Ottawa Program is a leading community partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health and the Public Works Department committed to preventing or eliminating road deaths and serious injuries for all people in the City

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Annual safety reports

The annual collisions report provides statistical data on all reported collisions on City of Ottawa roads during a five year period.

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Pedestrian safety

Remember to “Walk like your life depends on it!” and be aware of your surroundings!

The City of Ottawa has an extensive program to make streets safer for pedestrians that includes measures such as:

Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS)

Accessible pedestrian signals (APS), formerly known as audible pedestrian signals, are devices that use audible, tactile, vibro-tactile and visible methods to provide information that is accessible to all pedestrians, including people who are blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind.

Pedestrian Countdown Signal

The pedestrian countdown signal during the flashing “Don’t Walk” interval offers pedestrians more information on how much time they have to safely cross the intersection. Research has shown that countdown signals lead to fewer pedestrian-car collisions at intersections by providing pedestrians clearer information on when the lights will change. The installation of the pedestrian countdown signal will be done when a new traffic control signal or pedestrian signal is being installed, when an existing traffic control signal or pedestrian signal is being rebuilt as part of a road construction project, or through the Pedestrian Countdown Signal Installation Program. There are currently over 850 intersections across the city equipped with pedestrian countdown signals.

The Pedestrian Plan

The City produces a comprehensive Pedestrian Plan as part of the Transportation Master Plan to better integrate pedestrian travel into the transportation system.

School Zone Traffic Safety Program

Many children are walking and biking to school on our roads. However, younger children often lack the skills to negotiate traffic safely. Help them to walk - safely to school - by stressing important safety rules.

Pedestrian Crossovers

Pedestrian Crossovers are a type of traffic control used in Ottawa. Crossovers and their associated crosswalks are located at low speed, low-medium volume intersections, midblock and at roundabouts.  Learn about the form, function and usage of pedestrian crossovers and see where in Ottawa they are installed.

On January 1st, 2016, the Highway Traffic Act was revised to include a regulation which identifies a new type of Pedestrian Crossover. As a result of the legislative framework, including the Act, new regulation (402/15), and modifications to Ontario Traffic Manual Book 15 – Pedestrian Crossing Facilities,  municipalities can install pedestrian crossovers on low speed, low to medium volume roads.

Street sign specific to Pedestrian Crossovers, indicating to stop for pedestrians

What is a Pedestrian Crossover?

Pedestrian Crossovers are designated areas that allow pedestrians to safely cross roads where vehicles must yield to pedestrians when crossing. Pedestrian Crossovers are identified by specific signs and pavement markings. In some cases, but not always, they may also have pedestrian activated flashing beacons.

At Pedestrian Crossovers equipped with flashing beacons, pedestrians may push a button to make the beacon flash to enhance driver’s awareness that they will be crossing.  

It is the responsibility of both drivers and pedestrians to understand and follow the rules at Pedestrian Crossovers.

Infographic – all road users  

Visit our YouTube Page and click “show more” for the descriptive video text.

Pedestrian Crossovers in Ottawa

The City of Ottawa will be installing up to 60 Pedestrian Crossovers each year for the next three years as part of a City Council approved pilot program.  Crossovers will be situated at warranted locations throughout the city, starting in the summer of 2016. In the first year, these locations will include: new crossings where no crossing existed before, retrofitting of existing crossings, and roundabouts.

At roundabouts where Pedestrian Crossovers are being installed, pedestrians will now have the right of way over vehicles.

Pedestrian Crossover Locations

Pedestrian Crossovers will be installed on low speed, low to medium volume roads, and at most roundabouts.

The locations of the planned 2016 Pedestrian Crossovers in Ottawa are shown in the map and table below. The list will be updated as new warranted locations are added.

Map of Pedestrian Cross over Locations:

List of Pedestrian Crossing Locations

Location Ward
Des Epinettes between Cottonwood W and Lafrance Orleans
Lawnsberry – 190 m S of Jeanne D’Arc Orleans
Lawnsberry – 40 m E of Elderberry Orleans
Lawnsberry – 65 m N of Mockingbird Orleans
Beausejour at Des Sapins Gardens Innes
Renaud between Melodie and Compass  Innes
Beatrice / Mountshannon at Longfields Barrhaven
Berrigan at Longfields Barrhaven
Cambrian at Greenbank Barrhaven
Cedarview at Jockvale Barrhaven
Exeter Drive/Tartan Drive at Jockvale Barrhaven
Fable Street/Weybridge Drive at Jockvale Barrhaven
The Parkway between Teron and Leacock Kanata North
Badgely at Goulbourn Forced Kanata North
Kanata Avenue at Keyrock/Stikine Kanata North
Knudson at Nelford   Kanata North
Goulbourn Forced - 100 m W of Innovation Kanata North
Carp at Fallsdown  West Carleton - March
Trailway at Moss Hill Stittsville
West Ridge at Delamere Stittsville
Huntmar at Rosehill Stittsville
Robert Grant at Cope Stittsville
Robert Grant at Bobolink Stittsville
Robert Grant at Abbott Stittsville
Woodridge at 98 Woodridge Bay
Chesterton between Four Seasons and Assiniboine Knoxdale-Merivale
Viewmount between Overlake and Biscayne Knoxdale-Merivale
D'Aoust between Bank and Timbermill Gloucester - Southgate
Huntersfield – 70 m south of Thornehedge Gloucester - Southgate
Stonehenge between Torovin and Whittaker Beacon Hill - Cyrville
Alice at Vachon Rideau-Vanier
Lees - approc 70 m south of Chapel Rideau-Vanier
Mann between Russell and Lees Rideau-Vanier
King Edward at Union Rideau-Vanier
St. Laurent at 520 St Laurent Rideau-Rockliffe
Preston at Poplar Somerset
Somerset at Bay Somerset
Metcalfe at McLeod Somerset
Bayview at Slidell Kitchissipi
Melrose at Ruskin Kitchissipi
Brookfield at Flannery River
Owl at Pigeon River
Data Centre between Riverside and Heron Capital
Hopewell between Bank and Grosvenor Capital
Queen Elizabeth Drive at Commissioner’s Park  Capital
Queen Elizabeth Drive at Queen Elizabeth Place  Capital 
Kilborn at Aster AltaVista
Kilborn Drive at Lamira AltaVista
Valin between Demeter and Winsome Cumberland
Brian Coburn at Portobello Cumberland
8th Line between Eldo and Russell Osgoode
Manotick Main at Tighe Rideau - Goubourn
Fernbank at Shea Rideau - Goubourn
Cresthaven Drive at Fairpark Gloucester - South Nepean
Cresthaven Drive at Waterbridge Gloucester - South Nepean
Pine Hill between Pergrine and Brandy Creek Kanata South
Cope - 100 m west of Akerson Kanata South
Bridgestone-Steeple Chase at Stonehaven Kanata South
Meadowbreeze and Wheatland Kanata South

Responsibilities of Pedestrians

  • Make an indication that you want to cross and ensure drivers see you before you cross. 
  • Cross only when traffic has come to a complete stop and it is safe to do so.
  • Refer to “Roundabouts and Median Divided Roads” Section below for more details at these locations.

Infographic – pedestrians and cyclists 

Responsibilities of Drivers

  • Watch for and prepare to stop at Pedestrian Crossovers.
  • Wait until the pedestrian has completely crossed the road (curb to curb) before proceeding.
  • Vehicles must not pass any other vehicle within 30 metres prior to a Pedestrian Crossover.
  • Refer to “Roundabouts and Median Divided Roads” Section below for more details at these locations.

Infographic – drivers and cyclists 

Responsibilities of Cyclists

  •  When operating as a motor vehicle, cyclists will face the same responsibilities and fines as drivers – the new law requires cyclists to stop and yield the whole roadway to  pedestrians.
  •  When crossing with pedestrians, follow rules for pedestrians: dismount and walk your bike across the road.
  • Refer to “Roundabouts and Median Divided Roads” Section below for more details at these locations.

Infographic – drivers and cyclists 
Infographic – pedestrians and cyclists 

Roundabouts and Median Divided Roads

  • Currently, at roundabouts, vehicles have the right of way over pedestrians, except at roundabouts where Pedestrian Crossovers are installed. At these locations, pedestrians have the right of way over vehicles.
  • Many roundabouts in Ottawa will have Pedestrian Crossovers installed in 2016. Where the Pedestrian Crossover sign is installed, pedestrians have the right of way. 

At roundabouts and roads with centre medians, marked pedestrian crossovers are treated as two stage crossings with the median or splitter island providing a pedestrian refuge.  For vehicles passing through a Pedestrian Crossover at these locations the driver may proceed once the pedestrian has fully crossed their lane of traffic (i.e. curb to median).  They do not have to wait for the pedestrian to cross the whole roadway.

Infographic – roundabout

Pedestrian Crossover VS Pedestrian Crosswalk

Pedestrian Crossovers are a type of traffic control, which are devices that regulate the movement of traffic. Other traffic control types include Stop signs, Yield signs and traffic control signals.  All types of traffic controls have legal requirements for road users and are identified in the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.  Where there is such a traffic control device, the term crosswalk refers to the painted markings on the road.  It is typical for all controlled crossings to have a crosswalk. Forms of crosswalks are typically found at intersections, midblock locations, roundabouts and channelized right turns. In the first year of the Pedestrian Crossover pilot program the Crossovers and their associated crosswalks will be located at low speed, low-medium volume intersections, midblock and at most of the City’s single-lane roundabouts.  

Fines

Drivers and cyclists will be fined $150 to $500 with 3 demerit points for failing to yield for pedestrians at pedestrian crossovers.

Cyclists can be fined $85 for failing to dismount and walk their bicycle when crossing a pedestrian crossover.

Pedestrians can be fine $35 for leaving the curb or other place of safety at a pedestrian crossover and walking, running or moving into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impracticable for the driver of the vehicle to stop safely.

New Location Requests

Pedestrian Crossovers will be managed by the Public Works Department’s Traffic Services Branch. Requests for Pedestrian Crossovers should be sent to Traffic Services staff for review and consideration. 

The review will consist of an assessment of the location through a warrant process established by the Ministry of Transportation.

The appropriate Pedestrian Crossover design for warranted locations will be determined and a list will be provided to Council for approval and funding.

Approved locations will for the most part be implemented in the following calendar year, provided funding availability.

The History of Pedestrian Crossovers in Ottawa

Pedestrian Crossovers have a local history dating back to the early 1960s when a large number were installed across the greater Ottawa area. There are several types of crossovers which are identified as Type 1 or Type 2 crossovers. Type 1 was used in Ottawa dating back to early 1960s. This type is distinguished by the side mounted signs, overhead signs on wires and flashers. It is the most complex and was used at multi-lane crossings with higher speeds and traffic volumes.

These treatments provided a solution to pedestrian needs for a number of years, but were questioned in terms of safety in the 1970s; as a result, in the mid-1980’s, it was decided by Council that mid-block traffic control signals should be used in place of Pedestrian Crossovers and that Pedestrian Crossovers would no longer be implemented. At this time we do not intend to install the Type 1 crossovers again in Ottawa.

When the Making Ontario's Roads Safer Act, or Bill 31, was passed in June, 2015, Type 2 crossovers were created. Pedestrian Crossovers to be installed in Ottawa beginning June 2016 fall under Type 2 designation only.

Type 2 includes three formats:

B – Distinguished by overhead signs, side mounted signs, and rapid rectangular flashing beacons. These are typically used on arterial/major collector roads with higher speeds (up to 60km/h).

C – Distinguished by side mounted signs and rapid rectangular flashing beacons. These are typically used on collector roads, or lower volume multi-lane roundabouts.

D – This type is the most basic. It includes only the side mounted signs. These are typically used on local roads, or single lane roundabouts.

We want to hear from you

Please provide your feedback on the Pedestrian Crossover Pilot Program by contacting 3-1-1 (TTY 613-580-2401) or pedestriancrossover@ottawa.ca

Safe Driving

Ottawa’s roadways are among the safest in Canada.

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Motorcycle Safety

In Ottawa from 2009-2013 people who ride motorcycles were involved in 790 collisions leading to 12 fatalities and 542 injuries on Ottawa streets.  

People who ride motorcycles are considered vulnerable road users for the following reasons:

  • Motorcyclists have on two points of contact on the road and require great skill, balance and diligence to prevent collisions. 
  • Motorcyclist are small so they are difficult to see and gauging their speed and distance

The Ottawa Safety Council offers motorcycle training for all skill levels. Visit www.ottawasafetycouncil.ca for more information.

Every May, the motorcycle community of Ottawa and SRO launches “Keep an Eye Out for Motorcycle” campaign. 

Tips for Motorist 

  • Keep a safe distance when following a motorcycle - at least two seconds
  • Motorcycles use a full lane - treat them like other vehicles
  • Check your mirrors and blind spots frequently, especially before changing lanes -a motorcycle is small enough to be entirely hidden within your blind spot
  • Pay special attention at intersections, where almost 50% of motorcycle collisions occur

Tips for Motorcyclists

  • Keep a safe distance around you and maintain proper lane position
  • Check your mirrors and blind spots frequently - be alert for all other traffic, particularly at intersections
  • Be seen! Wear bright colours and reflective clothing, and ride with your lights on
  • Be safe! Always wear an approved motorcycle helmet and protective gear when riding

Bill 31 – Changes to the Highway Traffic Act

Effective September 1, 2015, rules of the road have changed to ensure the safety of all road users.

Distracted Driving

It is illegal to talk, text, dial or e-mail using hand-held phones and other hand-held communication and entertainment devices, while driving.

New measures to discourage drivers from texting and driving include higher fines, demerit points, and license suspension.

As a driver, it's your responsibility to focus on driving so that you can react to changing road conditions. Leave the Phone Alone!

 Cycling Safety

The safety of all road users is paramount and that includes cyclists. New cycling measures are directed at encouraging cycling, promoting road safety, and sharing the road.

  • Dooring - Higher fines and demerit points for “Dooring” . Dooring occurs when someone opens a parked motor vehicle door into the path of a cyclist or other traffic.
  • Safe Passing of Cyclists - Drivers must keep a one-metre (3 feet) distance when passing cyclists or they can face fines.
  • Lighting on bicycles - Cyclists must have proper lights, reflective materials and reflectors on their person, or on their bicycles (and that includes e-bikes) and motor-assisted bicycles (mopeds). Cyclists with improper bicycle lighting may be fined.

“Slow Down, Move Over” Law now includes Tow Trucks

It is important to protect the safety of those who are assisting others at roadside, often in dangerous roadside conditions. The “slow down and move over” law has been extended to include tow truck operators who are stopped on the roadside with their amber lights flashing and actively assisting a disabled vehicle. This law already includes our emergency workers—police, firefighters and paramedics.  Motorists who do not slow down and, where possible, move over into another lane when a tow truck is stopped on roadside with its amber lights flashing are subject to a fine.

More information is available from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Community Tool Kit

Want to increase road safety in your community?

To achieve our goal of zero fatalities and injuries on Ottawa’s streets we need your support. Invite Safer Roads Ottawa to your next community association or gathering. From discussing traffic calming measures, increased enforcement or organizing a bike rodeo Safer Roads Ottawa can offer your community a variety of tools to make you neighbourhood safer.

The following videos are examples of community initiatives Safer Roads Ottawa have been a part of:

Alta Vista Ward Safe Streets video
Bay Ward Slowdown Campaign (video)
Distracted Driving Video from Drop It and Drive
Toe Tag 

For more information please contact SRO@ottawa.ca

Children participating in a bike rodeo

2017 Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP)

 Table 1 - 2017 Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP)

Month

Theme #1

Theme #2

January

Follow too Close

Stop Sign Violation

February

Vehicle Occupant Restraints
(includes child car seats)

Red Light Running

March

Distracted Driving

Speeding

April

School Bus / School Zone 
Safety

Cycling Safety

May

Motorcycle Safety

Unsafe Vehicles and Heavy
Trucks

June

Pedestrian Safety

Construction Zones

July

Cycling Safety

Red Light Running

August

Impaired Driving

Roundabouts

September

School Bus/School Zone
Safety

Vehicle Occupant Restraints
(includes child car seats)

October

Distracted Driving

Speeding

November

Red Light Running

Stop Sign Violations

December

Impaired Driving

Unsafe Lane Changes

Ottawa's Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (S.T.E.P.) is implemented under the banner of Safer Roads Ottawa. Each month, two traffic safety priorities (themes) are highlighted for additional enforcement. An analysis of the City's traffic collision / injury data helps to determine the level of emphasis that each traffic safety priority receives. The severity of the issue will dictate if some themes receive additional months of enforcement.

Background information

In terms of timing of specific themes, consideration is given to the following:

  • Annual national / provincial campaigns
  • Seasonal road safety topics (e.g.. impaired driving in December and school bus / school zone traffic safety in September and March)
  • Dates of Safer Roads Ottawa campaigns and initiatives

A media release announcing the upcoming month's traffic safety priorities will be distributed prior to the beginning of each month. This release will contain relevant traffic collision/injury data justify the focus on the following month's traffic safety priorities. The results of the previous month's initiatives will be released to the community and will include a summary of the charges laid relating to the traffic safety priorities.

Please visit http://www.ottawapolice.ca/en/about-us/Safer-Roads-Ottawa.asp for more information.