THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Provincial Police have a message for motorists! “Drivers take notice, the fines and penalties for endangering pedestrians on roadways throughout Ontario have increased as of September 1, 2018. This includes higher fines and more demerit points for drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians at crossovers, school crossings and crosswalks with a school guard present”.
Failing to yield at pedestrian crosswalks, school crossings and crossovers will result in a fine of up to $1,000 and four demerit points upon conviction.
- Running a red light – Fine up to $1,000 and three demerit points.
- Failure to stop for a school bus – Fine up to $2,000 for a first offence, six demerit points and possible jail time for up to six months.
- Careless Driving – Fine up to $2,000, six demerit points, possible jail time of six months and a driver’s licence suspension of up to two years.
“We all have loved ones using the roadway, please consider this and keep safety in mind at all times when driving. Tougher penalties are only part of the solution; it really comes down to drivers doing their part by following the rules of the road and driving safe,” says Huron County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Sergeant Andrew MacIsaac.
The OPP would also like to remind drivers, including cyclists, about the law when it comes to encountering pedestrian crossovers and school crossings. All drivers must stop and yield the whole roadway at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a crossing guard present and displaying a school crossing stop sign. Only when pedestrians and school crossing guards have crossed and are safely on the sidewalk can drivers and cyclists proceed.
A common question for police is – “May I proceed across the road at a pedestrian crossover (PXO) if the pedestrian is off the roadway but the lights are still flashing?” The answer is – Yes, you may proceed if the pedestrian is completely off the roadway. You do not have to wait until the overhead lights are deactivated.
The OPP would also like to remind drivers about what a pedestrian crossover (PXO) looks like in many Ontario communities, including Thunder Bay.
The new design standardizes the look of the PXOs. Below are some of the features that you may come across as you approach a PXO.
Yield Line Markings – (also known as “sharks teeth”) these advance yield markings guide drivers and cyclists to stop further from the pedestrian crossing area.
Ladder Stripe Crossing Marking – Ladder road markings identify the pedestrian crossing area.
Pedestrian Crossing Sign – Identifies the pedestrian crossover area
Stop for Pedestrians Sign – All road users must STOP for pedestrians
Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon – An active warning device (flashing lights) used to alert drivers and cyclists of crossing pedestrians.
Here are some safety tips for drivers & cyclists:
- Always drive with caution and watch for pedestrians waiting to cross, especially when turning.
- Watch for children. Drive slowly and cautiously through school zones, residential areas and any other area where children are at play.
- Try to make eye contact with the pedestrian to ensure they see you.
- Allow the pedestrian to cross the entire width of the road before driving.
- Do not pass any other vehicle within 30 metres of a pedestrian crossover.
- Cyclists should dismount and walk their bike across when crossing.
Some safety tips for pedestrians:
- Cross only at marked crosswalks or traffic lights. Do not cross mid-block or between parked cars.
- Never cross on a red light.
- Do not start to cross if you see a flashing “Do Not Walk” symbol or the light turns yellow. If you already started to cross, complete your crossing in safety.
- If there is a push button at the PXO, press it to activate the flashing lights
- Make eye contact with the drivers on both sides of the road before your cross
- And most importantly, only cross when traffic has come to a complete stop and you feel it is safe to cross.