Traffic tips

The rules of the road are for everyone. Here is a list of handy traffic tips to keep you moving safely in the community:

Speed limits

Motorists are reminded that the maximum speed limit in the city is 50km/h on all streets and 20km/h on lanes unless otherwise posted.

This is a maximum speed under ideal road conditions, drivers are responsible to lower their speed if conditions are less than ideal. Under the Motor Vehicle  Act, it is an offence if a person is driving at a speed that is excessive relative to road, traffic, visibility or weather conditions. Please drive with added caution during the winter months.

School zone speed limits

This is a warning sign identifying a School Zone and is erected on roadways that are adjacent to a school that is subject to additional pedestrian activity. Motorist approaching these designated areas should drive with caution and adjust their speed if necessary.

When a black and white 30km/h sign is installed below the School Zone sign, the reduced speed limit is in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days. Drivers shall not exceed 30km/h while approaching, passing or in the vicinity of the school to which the signs relate. The back of the sign indicates the end of the restrictive zone for the opposite direction of travel.

Traffic signals

Many traffic signals are activated by means of detection loops which are located underneath the asphalt on the approach to the intersection. When a driver arrives at a traffic light facing a red signal indication, to ensure proper signal sequence, the driver must come to a complete stop at or just behind the marked stop line.

Drivers are reminded that it is illegal to enter a marked  crosswalk area when facing a red light except when turning right after yielding to any pedestrians.

Traffic signal inoperative

Motorists are reminded that when approaching an intersection that has traffic control signals that are inoperative, the driver must stop before entering the intersection and yield the right of way to the driver on the right or to a vehicle already in the intersection.

Pedestrian traffic signals

Traffic signals that are equipped with pedestrian signals and push buttons must be used to ensure pedestrians have enough time to cross the road safely. The walk light, generally between 4 to 7 seconds in length, is an indicator for the pedestrian to step off the curb (after looking both ways) and begin crossing the street.

The flashing "don't walk" light indicates a safe crossing time based on the width of the road. While on the road, pedesrians should proceed across as quickly as possible. A pedestrian  while still on the sidewalk should not enter the road.

A flashing green light indicates a pedestrian-controlled traffic signal. A flashing green light will turn solid for 4 to 5 seconds followed by an amber, then red light. The solid green light at a pedestrian traffic signal serves as an advance warning drivers that the signal is about to change. Motorists are also reminded that it is illegal to proceed  through a red light and must wait until the signal resumes its flashing green sequence.

Special pedestrian crosswalks

This type of traffic control device is being implemented  at various locations within the city. A special pedestrian crosswalk provides additional warning and safety features for drivers and pedestrians, including overhead signs that are back-lit to increase visibility at night, amber flashing lights which are activated by pedestrians and downward lighting that illuminates the crosswalk area.

Tips for motorists:

  • Yield the right of way to pedestrians whether or not the amber lights are flashing.
  • When the amber lights are flashing, pedestrians are in the vicinity of the crosswalk.
  • Where a vehicle is slowing down or stopped at the crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross, the approaching driver from the rear shall not overtake and pass the vehicle that is slowing down or stopped.

Tips for pedestrians:

  • Activate the amber flashing  lights by push button and cross with caution once it is safe to do so.
  • Do not leave the curb and walk into the path of a vehicle that is so close it is impractical  for the driver to yield right of way.

Bike lanes

Cyclists follow the same rules and regulations as motorists. Yield to cyclists as you would to any other vehicle. Remember  to share the road and only pass if there is sufficient room and you can do so without interfering with other traffic.

Bike lanes are delineated by a white edge line with a bike stencil symbol and a sign and are reserved  for cyclists. Use caution to cross a bike lane to turn right, or to pull off to the side of the road.

Rules for bike lanes are: don't drive, stop or park in a bike lane. You may only cross a bike lane if the white line is broken or to turn into or out of a driveway.

Check out this sample street map [PDF - 534 KB] to learn more on how bike lanes work.

Walkways

Walkways are also delineated with a white edge line, have an average width of 1-metre to 1.5-metre, and are marked with a pedestrian stencil symbol. Motorists are reminded not to drive, stop or park on a walkway. You may cross a walkway edge line to turn into or out of a driveway.

Audible pedestrian signals

The purpose of audible pedestrian signals (APS) is to assist visually-impaired pedestrians  in crossing  at locations which are controlled by traffic signals, with timed walk intervals.