Intersection Safety in London
To help educate Londoners about best practices when approaching and/or navigating through an intersection, the City of London, in partnership with the London Middlesex Road Safety Committee, has initiated a new signalized intersection safety campaign to highlight the importance of all road users making eye contact, being aware of their surroundings and scanning the intersection before travelling through it. Signalized intersections are defined as intersections equipped with traffic signals.
Over the last five years, 371 pedestrian collisions and 193 cyclist collisions have been recorded at or near signalized intersections in London. Data shows that 75% of the pedestrian collisions and 38% of the cyclist collisions involved left and/or right turning motor vehicles.
Make Eye Contact
Taking a minute to make eye contact before making a move at an intersection can be highly effective. Ontario's Road Safety Report states that 50% of pedestrians involved in collisions were crossing with the right of way, confirming that mutual acknowledgement can be critical when navigating an intersection. Do not proceed until you're sure you've seen each other.
Scan the Intersection
Take in the whole scene when approaching an intersection. Scanning helps you to see:
- Oncoming traffic: Look beyond what’s right in front of you. Look ahead for vehicles, motorcycles, bikes, buses and pedestrians that may be on the road by the time you reach them.
- Cycling Infrastructure: Look for cyclists on the road or using bike lanes. Cyclists may also be waiting in bike boxes or two-stage turn boxes waiting to make a turn.
- Transit Stops: In London, transit stops are labeled with a blue sign, sometimes accompanied with a transit shelter or transit island. These areas may have higher volumes of pedestrians.
- Pedestrian Crosswalks: Most signalized intersections are equipped with Pedestrian Crosswalks. Always be aware of pedestrians waiting to cross and that other drivers may be waiting for pedestrians to cross.
- Signs: Look for signs near intersections providing advance notice or warnings, such as advance street name signs or "no right on red" turn restriction signage. Awareness of these signs is critical to keep the intersection safe and reduce uncertainty among road users.
- Lights: Always be sure to make a full stop on red lights. If the light is yellow, stop if you can do so safely, otherwise proceed with caution. Drivers should not rely on pedestrian countdown signals to know when the signal is about to change.
- Turn movements/signals: Look for cyclists’ hand signals, vehicle and bus turn signals. Be ready to yield to pedestrians crossing at the crosswalk and, when on a bike or in a vehicle, be ready to yield to buses so they can proceed through the intersection first.