Heads Up at Intersections!

The third video installment in our Heads Up campaign reminds pedestrians to keep their heads up at intersections, so that they can pay careful attention to the signals.

There can be confusion amongst both pedestrians and drivers about what pedestrian signals actually mean, so we thought we’d clarify that in our campaign.


The walk signal means that you have the right of way. You can start to cross the street, provided that it’s safe. Remember, collisions can happen even when you have the right of way. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to make sure that all traffic has stopped before you step off the curb. Be especially aware of any vehicles that may be turning right at an intersection

Once the flashing hand and/or countdown signal appears, you should not start to cross the street. If you’re already in the intersection, finish crossing.

The flashing hand and/or countdown signal allows time for both pedestrians and vehicles to clear the intersection. If you race this signal, you can prevent turning vehicles from clearing the intersection while the light’s still green. This forces those vehicles to clear the intersection on a red light, which not only stalls traffic, but also makes it unsafe for pedestrians who now have the right of way and may be crossing the street while turning vehicles are still clearing the intersection. This places both pedestrians and vehicles at a higher risk of being involved in a collision. Starting to cross on a flashing hand and/or countdown signal is also illegal, and could result in a warning or a ticket.

The solid hand means don’t cross. It is unsafe and illegal to cross the street on a solid hand signal. Crossing on a solid hand could result in a ticket, or put yourself or others at higher risk of being involved in a collision.


Although the video focuses on pedestrian etiquette, drivers share an equal role in intersection safety. Drivers should be aware that the flashing hand and/or countdown signal is not always timed to the traffic light. They should follow traffic lights and never use pedestrian signals as a guide.

When turning on a green light, drivers must yield right of way to pedestrians crossing the street in the same direction. When turning right on a red, drivers should come to a complete stop and look to the right for pedestrians crossing in front of their vehicle.

And remember, pedestrians are vulnerable road users who are more at risk of being injured or killed in a collision. Regardless of whether a pedestrian has the right of way, a driver should yield to the pedestrian and do all they can to avoid a collision.

Thanks to Kathy Lightfoot from Guru Digital Arts College for producing this week’s animation. Watch for one last video post next week!

For more information on the Heads Up campaign, visit Edmonton Heads Up Campaign.


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About the Author
Lindsay Yarmon
Lindsay is a Communications Advisor for LRT Delivery


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