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Understanding Your Rights as a Pedestrian

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Understanding Your Rights as a Pedestrian

Understanding Your Rights as a Pedestrian

As a pedestrian, you always have to keep your eyes peeled for distracted drivers and aggressive bikers who are trying to dominate the road. But do you know when you, as a pedestrian, actually have the right of way and when drivers or bikers should be yielding to you? If you’re unsure, read on to learn more about your rights as a pedestrian and what you should do when those rights are evaded.

What Are My Rights as a Pedestrian?

Most people assume that drivers have the right of way on the roads, with cyclists coming next and then finally, pedestrians. But the truth is, it’s actually the other way around. Pedestrians have the right of way not only when they’re on a sidewalk but also at a crosswalk when the “walk” signal is activated and at crosswalks where there are no traffic signals available. This means that vehicles must remain stopped until you have fully crossed the road before they can turn or pursue the intersection. At intersections with no traffic lights, drivers must stop their vehicles for pedestrians and not proceed until the person has crossed the roadway completely. Drivers cannot pass a stopped vehicle at a crossover or pass a moving vehicle that is 30 meters from one either.

What Are My Responsibilities?

Just because you have the right of way at crosswalks, it doesn’t mean you can cross whenever you please. You still need to follow the rules of the road and obey the traffic signals. So if the “do not walk” signal is present, you no longer have the right of way – the vehicles do.

You also have other responsibilities as a pedestrian, including using a marked crosswalk and sidewalk when one is present, giving traffic the right of way when on the road, yielding to public safety vehicles and those in a funeral procession. You are also not allowed to walk along the highway. However, you can walk on a regular road on the shoulder when there is no sidewalk available, just as long as you are facing the direction of the traffic.

Pedestrians often get injured because they assume that drivers will stop or because they are distracted and looking at their phones. It’s important to know that it’s your responsibility as a pedestrian not to step out onto a crossover when an approaching vehicle is already in motion and cannot stop in a reasonable amount of time.

How to Stay Safe as a Pedestrian?

Even when you understand your rights as a pedestrian, you still have to always be aware of your surroundings. You should never assume that a car is going to stop or give you the right of way, even when it’s your turn. Stay alert and be on the lookout for oncoming vehicles, and never assume a driver or cyclist will stop for you.

Accidents happen, even when pedestrians follow all the rules. If a driver or cyclist has injured you in an intersection or when walking on the road, you should exercise your legal rights by contacting David Hollingsworth. Our team of accident and injury lawyers will help you fully understand your options and the steps you can take to receive the necessary compensation to pay for your injuries, recovery, and lost wages. We are ready to help you file a claim or head to court. Our legal team is highly experienced in pedestrian accidents and will ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Contact us today to learn more or to get started on your case.

About the Author

David Hollingsworth has been a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa since 1999. David dedicates himself to helping people who have been injured in an accident, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, motorcycle accidents, LTD claims, Accident Benefits claims and more. David and his team work closely with their clients and their families and help rebuild lives, following a traumatic accident. To learn more about David Hollingsworth, view his full profile.


// DENIS ALISIC // CARLO CAVALIERE // DINA LOGAN // PHYLLIS BERGMANS // BRENT MEADOWS // David Hollingsworth