Modes of Transportation

Pedestrians: What the Law Says

The Highway Safety Code also applies to pedestrians. It is important to obey it in order to stay safe and avoid fines while travelling on foot.

Obligations and Prohibitions

According to the Highway Safety Code, pedestrians must:

  • use the sidewalk bordering the roadway. If there is no sidewalk, pedestrians can walk along the side of the roadway or on the shoulder, against traffic. However, they may walk with the flow of traffic if that option is safer (for example, if the road is better lit or the shoulder is wider)
  • cross at intersections and pedestrian crosswalks. Pedestrians should check traffic before crossing by first looking left, then right, then left again and behind themselves
  • obey the pedestrian lights at intersections. If there are no pedestrian lights, pedestrians must obey traffic lights

According to the Highway Safety Code, pedestrians must not:

  • cross an intersection diagonally, unless authorized to do so by a peace officer, school crossing guard or a sign or signal
  • hitchhike on the roadway or in an area where passing is prohibited
  • walk on highways or access ramps

Signs and Signals

Where there are pedestrian lights

The white silhouette authorizes pedestrians to cross the street carefully, while watching for vehicles that are turning, especially at intersections where turning right on red is allowed. A countdown timer often indicates the time pedestrians have left to cross.
The flashing orange hand, which may be accompanied by a countdown timer, indicates that pedestrians should cross only if they have enough time to reach the other side or the safety zone before the orange hand stops flashing. If pedestrians have already started to cross, they should hurry up.
A steady orange hand indicates that pedestrians may not cross.

Where there are only traffic lights

Pedestrians are allowed to cross the street if the light facing them is green, and they have the right of way once they have begun crossing the roadway.  

Where there is a stop sign

Pedestrians have priority over drivers, who must stop in order to yield the right of way.

Where there are pedestrian crosswalks 

Pedestrians have priority at crosswalks. Drivers and cyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians who have begun crossing the yellow or white pavements markings or who have clearly signaled their intention to do so.

Where there are no intersections and no pedestrian crosswalks nearby

Pedestrians may cross, but they must yield the right of way to vehicles and cyclists.

Video clip

By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

Piéton, soyez vigilant, car vous n’êtes pas seul sur la route.

(in French only)

Transcript :


Pedestrians who don't obey the rules laid out in the Highway Safety Code face a fine of $15 to $30.

Last update: June  1, 2022