We've been thinking about and working towards safety for all users of Toronto's streets for more than ten years. We're sharing these notes in hopes of further supporting safety for all.
rules of the road and cycling
There are a variety of rules that different advocates have advanced for cyslists. Others such as cycling clubs maintain their own rules. Below is one set of guidelines for cyclists to follow called "effective cycling".
According to its wiki entry:
[The author] sums up Effective Cycling with what he calls the vehicular cycling (VC) principle: "Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles." This injunction is consistent with the rules of the road, which generally apply to all types of drivers of vehicles. The VC principle is often misunderstood to mean "act like you're a car". At most, it means to act like a driver of a low-powered motorcycle. Forester's injunction speaks not only to cyclist behavior but also to the way cyclists should be treated by motorists, police, and road engineers.
- Use the correct half of the road, and not the sidewalk.
- Yield to other traffic as required.
- Yield when moving laterally across the road.
- Choose the correct lane and position within the lane at intersections and their approaches, based on your destination. For example, a cyclist planning to go straight through an intersection should avoid getting stuck in a right-turn-only lane, where it is easy to get clobbered by a right-turning car; a cyclist in a through-traffic lane may get a few surprised looks but will probably not get hit. Choosing the correct lane and position often involves taking the lane when the lane is not wide enough for a car and a bike side by side.
- Between intersections move away from the curb based on speed relative to other traffic and effective lane width.
Note: The following sections were taken from the website of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO).
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
- Cross only at marked crosswalks or crossovers. Don't cross in the middle of the block or between parked cars.
- Make sure drivers see you before you cross. If the driver is stopped, make eye contact before you step into the road.
- Wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective wear, especially at dusk or when it's dark.
- At a traffic light:
- Cross when traffic has come to a complete stop.
- Begin to cross at the start of the green light or “Walk” signal, where provided.
- 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.
- Never cross on a red light.
- Watch for traffic turning at intersections or turning into and leaving driveways.
Safety Tips for Drivers
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.
Safety Tips for Parents
Show your children how to cross a road safely. Teach them to:
- Stay to the side of the road, walking as far away from traffic as they safely can
- Stop at the edge of the sidewalk, and look both ways before crossing the road
- Take extra care on roadways that have no curbs
- Watch out for blind corners (for example, a car coming out of an alley may not see a child pedestrian about to cross).
Recommended for you
The city of Toronto has directed pedestrians to wear brightly-colored clothing for their own protection.
The city of Toronto has provided some guidance on sharing the road with cyclists.
This is Michael's guide to using the Woodbine bike lanes.