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New Ontario Driving Rules For Jan. 1 Include Full Pedestrian Crossing

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Václav Mach via Getty Images
Václav Mach via Getty Images

Last year, Ontario's Ministry of Transportation introduced a series of new laws that included harsher fines for texting and driving, among other behaviours, in its "Making Ontario Roads Safer Act."

Now, as of Jan. 1, 2016, those fines include staying put while people cross the street — at least, at particularly demarcated zones.

According to the Ministry of Transportation, all drivers (including cyclists) must now stop and yield the whole roadway at pedestrian crossovers, as well as school crossings that have a crossing guard carrying a stop sign. So that means you can't just wait until people have cleared enough space to allow you to zoom through in these areas — you have to wait until they've fully reached the other side.

Failure to do so could mean fines from $150 to $500 and three demerit points, or double that in Community Safety Zones, which are marked and found near schools and public areas.

And to make it a little more confusing, it appears crosswalks may not be exactly what you thought they were. The difference between a crossover, a crosswalk and a school crossing are as follows:

Pedestrian Crossover (where the new law applies)

pedestrian crossover

Identified by specific signs, pavement markings and lights – illuminated overhead lights/warning signs and pedestrian push buttons.

Pedestrian Crosswalk (where the new law isn't relevant)

pedestrian crosswalk

A crossing location usually found at intersections with traffic signals, pedestrian signals or stop signs.

School Crossing (a crossing guard must be present for the new law to apply)

school crossing

Any pedestrian crossing where a school crossing guard is present and displaying a school crossing stop sign.

The Ministry tweeted an image in case people are confused (which, of course, will get you another fine if you're a driver looking at it on your phone in the car):

On their website, the Ministry also emphasizes the responsibility of pedestrians in staying safe, including never crossing between parked cars, and always trying to make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you.

For those on their feet, it's also important to note that these new rules don't apply at crosswalks with stop signs and traffic signals.

Check out more information, and the rest of the newer laws about driving in Ontario, here:

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Drivers facing new rules for pedestrian crosswalks - CityNews

New laws that started in Ontario on Jan. 1, 2016 | CTV Toronto News