Crosswalk Chaos in Thunder Bay

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Push the button and cross the street - New crosswalk opened on Algoma Street
Push the button and cross the street - New crosswalk opened on Algoma Street

Drivers Appear Not to Know the Rules of the Road

THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay has been installing a number of new crosswalks across the city. These crosswalks are designed to enhance pedestrian safety. One of the newer crosswalks, which was installed on Algoma and Cornwall Street in November 2016 was preceded with a safety campaign by the City of Thunder Bay. There were flyers delivered to homes across the city.

Push the button and cross the street - New crosswalk opened on Algoma Street
Push the button and cross the street – New crosswalk on Algoma Street

However, it appears that many drivers remain blissfully unaware of how the new legislation works. In this video shot at the Algoma Street Crosswalk on October 15th, one vehicle can be seen entering the crosswalk and another sped through the crosswalk even though there was a pedestrian right in the middle of the street.

At the crosswalk on Algoma, crossing west, it simply takes a light touch and the crosswalk is activated, however to go east across Algoma Street it takes a number of attempts to get the lights to activate.

Overall this is a dangerous situation and likely requires enhanced education for drivers, based on observations at the controlled crossing, drivers simply either don’t understand the crosswalk or are ignoring it. This is placing people in the dangerous position, especially heading into winter when the roads can be slippery, or drivers have not fully cleared the windows on their vehicle, to be hit.

The Province of Ontario has enacted new legislation on crosswalks.

The Ministry of Transportation states: As of January 1, 2016, drivers – including cyclists – must stop and yield the whole roadway at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a crossing guard.

These new rules do not apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, unless a school crossing guard is present.

Only when pedestrians and school crossing guards have crossed and are safely on the sidewalk can drivers and cyclists proceed.

There are four types of pedestrian crossovers in Ontario.

Pay special attention to pedestrians as you drive. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Always look for pedestrians, especially when turning.
  • Watch for children. Drive slowly and cautiously through school zones, residential areas, or any other area where children could be walking or playing.
  • Watch out for Community Safety Zone signs that indicate areas where public safety is a special concern, including the possibility of encountering pedestrians.
  • Be patient, especially with seniors or pedestrians with disabilities who need more time to cross the road.
  • Drive carefully near streetcar stops with islands or zones for passengers getting on and off. Pass them at reasonable speeds, and always be ready in case pedestrians make sudden or unexpected moves.

Fines

Drivers will be fined $150 to $500 and 3 demerit points for offences at pedestrian crossings, school crossings and at crosswalks where there are traffic signals. The maximum fine for running a red light – a practice that puts pedestrians at risk – is $200 to $1000.

Fines are doubled in Community Safety Zones, near schools and public areas. These areas are clearly marked with signs.

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