Oxford County recently installed new pedestrian crossovers to improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists on roadways and is encouraging people to ‘know their roles.’
One of those crossovers was installed on Tillson Avenue at Fourth Street in Tillsonburg. Other crossovers were installed in Drumbo, Innerkip, Ingersoll and Thamesford.
A pedestrian crossover is a designated crossing area – with flashing lights – that allows pedestrians to cross the road safely. Drivers and cyclists must yield to pedestrians when the pedestrian crossover is activated. Pedestrian crossovers are identified by specific signs, pavement markings, pedestrian push buttons, and lights.
Tillsonburg Coun. Chrissy Rosehart, who owns Chrissy’s Corner Store, a block-and-a-half south of the town’s newest crossover on Tillson Avenue, said there were some safety concerns in the first few weeks, and is urging people – pedestrians and drivers – to learn the crossover rules.
“At first we had a problem because they weren’t working properly, they would stay running,” said Rosehart. “They kept flashing at first. People didn’t know the rules of the road, because when you get to something that’s flashing like that, it’s called a four-way stop. I learned that from an OPP officer.
“And I have learned that even if the pedestrian was half-way across, you have to wait until they are fully across. That car in the other lane has to wait until that person is totally off the road. It’s been a learning experience for me, here on this side of town, especially the first few times when it wasn’t working properly.”
Rosehart said parents need to caution their children – as soon as you touch the crossover button, the flashing lights immediately come on. But you need to wait until vehicles stop before crossing – do not instantly cross the street.
“Nobody knows the rules of the road. It’s a big issue… because there is no pre-warning for the truckers or cars. And you have traffic from three factories that are coming down this road.
“The pedestrians need to be brought up to date on how to use them, which they are not. Nobody is taught how to use them. Truckers, when they come up to them, they cannot stop on the dime.”
It is important to note that although pedestrians have the right of way at pedestrian crossovers, and drivers and cyclists must stop behind the pavement markings and wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road before proceeding, pedestrians also have their own set of crossover rules to follow.
Responsibilities of drivers
- Be prepared to stop for pedestrians.
- Stop behind the pavement markings.
- Make eye contact to ensure pedestrians see you.
- Wait until pedestrians completely cross the road before proceeding.
- Do not pass another stopped vehicle at the pedestrian crossover.
Responsibilities of cyclists
- When riding with traffic, follow the same rules as drivers.
- When crossing, follow the same rules as pedestrians; dismount and walk your bike across the pedestrian crossover.
Responsibilities for pedestrians
- Push the pedestrian button to activate flashing lights
- Indicate intention to cross.
- Wait for traffic to stop.
- Make eye contact with drivers/cyclists to ensure they see you.
The penalty for drivers who endanger pedestrians increased in 2018, and includes higher fines and more demerit points for drivers who fail to yield at pedestrian crossovers. Drivers and cyclists not following the rules may face fines of up to $1,000, and drivers may incur four demerit points.