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 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.
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.
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.
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 center 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Table 1 - 2016 Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP)
Follow too Close
Stop Sign Violation
Vehicle Occupant Restraints (includes child car seats)
Red Light Running
School Bus / School Zone Safety
Unsafe Vehicles and Heavy Trucks
Red Light Running
School Bus/School Zone Safety
Vehicle Occupant Restraints (includes child car seats)
Red Light Running
Stop Sign Violations
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.
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.