“Jaywalking” is a term that, although not legally defined, is sometimes used to describe instances when pedestrians cross a highway or other roadway in a place not marked by a crosswalk, or crossing against a signal at an intersection. A number of sections of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act define when it is permissible for pedestrians to enter a crosswalk or to cross the street between intersections.

But you might ask: “Don’t pedestrians have the right of way?” Yes, but only when crossing roadways legally. In case of a collision in Ontario, the onus is typically on the driver to demonstrate that they are not at fault, but it is important that pedestrians understand what the law requires of them, not only for determining liability in the event of a collision, but also for their own safety.

If you’re crossing a road outside of a crosswalk, the law usually requires you to yield the right of way to vehicles, although drivers do have the obligation to take steps to avoid a collision. As a pedestrian, you certainly don’t want to put yourself in the position where insult, in the form of a ticket, could be added to (often significant) injury after a collision.

The Toronto Police Service routinely issues tickets for infractions which could fall under the term “jaywalking” and according to the TPS collision reports, an average of 50 to 60 per cent of fatal collisions involve pedestrians.

If you’re caught jaywalking, you could be charged under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. In addition to the fine, additional court fees, victim surcharge and municipal fines may also add up. To put things in perspective, the fines range from $110 to $115 to a high of $172.50 for a single violation in Toronto, Calgary and Moncton respectively.

After a collision, both drivers and pedestrians should seek medical attention when necessary, and should report the collision to the police. After taking each of these steps, it may be appropriate to approach experienced legal counsel to explore their options to seek compensation for any injuries that they may have sustained.

At Mackesy Smye, we understand that every case is unique, especially cases involving pedestrians and motor vehicles. If you’ve suffered a personal injury in Ontario, you need a personal injury lawyer who can help you seek justice and defend your rights.

If you have been involved in a collision as a pedestrian, we have the experience and the expertise to help you get the compensation that you deserve.