For most Ontarians, their first taste of the road begins with pen and paper, and the MTO’s Official Drivers’ Handbook.

To the casual observer in London, there are additional regulations not covered in the handbook. Most drivers in the city adopt the rules organically, though they have never been put to paper.

Thankfully, LondonFuse has been able to compile these rules – both for motorists and pedestrians – to ensure that efficiency is given equal footing to safety in order to truly get around like an A-Hole.

FOR MOTORISTS

Rule 1: If you can see a light change, you must run it.

green traffic light on busy street
Green is good, but yellow is where all the action takes place.

If a traffic light turns amber and you can see it from half a block away, you must accelerate in order to make it through the intersection. Drivers must make full use of the two seconds that both directions have at a red light.

Rule 2: Lane changes must be done two at a time with no signal.

Rather than use your blinkers to indicate a lane change, it’s proper practice to turn the wheel sharply and cross two lanes of traffic to get into the left or right turn lane. The more surprising your lane change, the better executed it is. Remember – quick and unannounced is preferable, as it forces other drivers to be more aware of their surroundings.

Rule 3: Air-nudging pedestrians makes them cross the road faster.

car closing in on family crossing the street
C’mon family, can’t you see I’m trying to turn right?

If the walk sign is counting down and pedestrians are still crossing the street, motorists must slowly and steadily inch toward the crosswalk when turning right. It is encouraged to get your bumper as close as possible to walkers’ shins. This allows the heat from your grill to inform them of your intention to turn.

Rule 4: Four-way flashers are no-parking zone parking passes.

If you are only running into the grocery store for ten minutes, it is perfectly acceptable to put your four-ways on and park in the fire lane. This lets other drivers know that you are on an urgent errand and don’t have the time to park in the lot proper. It is also allowable to leave your car idling if you will be in and out in less than five minutes.

Rule 5: Drive alongside emergency vehicles.

Ambulances and fire trucks aren’t two lanes wide, so motorists must use that extra space. At any given intersection there is only a one-in-three chance that emergency vehicles will be turning the same direction as you. That means drivers are two-thirds safe. If you are in the left-hand turn lane and a fire truck is approaching you, complete your turn as slowly as you can, and at the last possible second, to keep other drivers from doing the same.

SPECIAL EXEMPTION-LEFT TURNS: If you are four cars back in the left turn lane and the traffic light turns amber, you have the obligation to follow the preceding three cars through the intersection.

FOR PEDESTRIANS

Rule 1: Crosswalk lights are suggestions.

crosswalk counting down to two
Wait for it…
crosswalk counting down to one
Wait for it…
crosswalk countdown zero
Commence crossing slowly!

So long as you have three seconds to reach the median between cars, you must make the attempt. You can safely wait on the median until the walk sign is on, or until there is another three-second gap to complete your run. Think of the red hand flashing across the street as a high five for saving time.

Rule 2: Do not rush if the lights turn amber or red.

If the the traffic lights change while you are crossing the street, you must continue at a slow and steady pace. During rush hour, this controls the flow of vehicular traffic as drivers must wait at the green light for you to get to the other side.

Rule 3: Make a few false starts to test the waters.

crossing the street at richmond and dundas
Crossing the street is a big commitment. Take a few false starts to be sure you’re emotionally prepared.

In order to keep motorists on their guard, make sure you step out into oncoming traffic at least two times before stepping back onto the curb. This ‘will they, won’t they’ move lets drivers know you might-possibly-be-intending-to-maybe cross the road. If a driver comes to a complete stop, wave them through, wait three seconds, and begin crossing once they accelerate.

Rule 4: Check your phone while crossing the street.

This is a must, especially if you are wearing headphones. Traffic should never stop you from completing a text. If anything, the opposite is true.

Rule 5: Walk as close to traffic as you can before stopping and waiting for vehicles.

In order to maximize your street-crossing efficiency, walk a couple metres past the curb while a vehicle is approaching. Stop about one foot shy of where it is going to pass you and wait for it to go by. If a motorist stops to let you across, revert to Rule 3.

SPECIAL EXEMPTION – CROSS-TALK=CROSSWALK: If you are having a conversation with someone across the street, there are no restrictions on when you can cross.

As with any traffic regulations, there are always exceptions to the rule. Should you come across a situation not covered above, ask yourself: Is it convenient?

If the answer is yes, proceed with confidence, not caution.

Feature photo by Gerard Creces

6 COMMENTS

  1. Bus rule: all able-bodied 22-year-olds must run to cram onto an already packed bus at Western and Sarnia and then get off at Alumni Hall three minutes later instead of walking for five minutes.

  2. Had some pedestrians acting on rule 1 of theirs tonight, in fact. At the Highbury turn off into the Northland mall traffic was slow (see 20-30kph) but moving consistently. We had the green, and a group of these idiots dashed to the median between cars, forcing a bunch of them to slam on their brakes. One star athlete decided not to stop at the median and kept going, charging all the way across, dodging cars as he made his way across to the Scotiabank side. We had the green the entire time, but he didn’t care. He turns around grinning like a moron after nearly causing four cars to pile up, having slammed on their brakes to avoid pancaking him. Thankfully I was far enough back that I didn’t rear end anyone, but still. These kids were late teens at best; who taught these kids this sort of stupid behavior was ok?

    Whoa… I feel old now.

  3. You missed the biggest one for Drivers…When turning right at an intersection that has two available lanes. YOU MUST WAIT for all lanes to be free. Only using the lane closest to you is forbidden. And when you complete the turn make sure you turn wide and take 2 or more lanes to complete your turn. WARNING if you find the lane closest to you is free to complete your turn and the car behind you is hooking at you. Whatever you do. DO NOT MAKE A safe right hand turn why would you do that!

  4. In all fairness, there are a lot of bad drives that don’t know you can turn right on a left advance and then subsequently almost run over pedestrians in the crosswalk and A LOT of drivers who don’t know that your stay to the inside lane when making that left advance, not turn into the outside lane. There is also those that don’t know you stop at the stop sign not a a car length and a half past, the line and the sign. Blocking the sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk around the back of vehicles and almost getting hit by vehicles making right had turns into the entrance. let’s not even talk about the ridiculous amount of drivers that still text and drive. I agree, there should be “how to cross a street 101” for pedestrians that don’t know how to cross the street, talking on their phone, taking their sweet ass time. But pedestrians aren’t the ones in care and control of a half tonne vehicles, not to mention the incredibly short timers on the cross walks, i walk fast and i can’t even make it halfway before the light starts to change on some of them, not to mention the inconsistent count down timers. Some start at 25 some 10, you never know when you have to sprint across.

  5. Lots of invented rules…. 1) In no way in London, is it a 4 way stop when the lights are out at an intersection it is a free for all, what happens happens. That person (who is more important then anyone else) not obey the rules of the road knows that there is someone who is paying attention so they wont get hit. 2) Lets all slow down to 30 kms below the speed limit to go through the intersection on a green light.
    And for the Bus drivers, lets wait for the car to be right beside to signal and pull out, because obviously no matter where the car is the bus has the right away, even if the bus has to drive across the car to get where they are going.

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