Pathway Safety

Three children walking home from school

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Walking/Running Safety

  • Safety in numbers: If at all possible, walk or run with a partner. Not only does this increase your safety; it also makes your training more enjoyable. In the absence of a training companion, always tell someone which route you will be taking and what time you expect to return or arrive at your destination.
  • Plan ahead: Stay on the designated trails or recreational pathways and avoid dark or isolated areas. Varying routes and the times that you plan to go out is safer and a lot more interesting but be sure to know your route before heading out and avoid unfamiliar shortcuts. 
  • Dress correctly: After dark?  Ensure that you are dressed to be seen. Wear light-colored or reflective clothing. Look for reflective material on the shoe heels, and tracksuits, bibs and rainsuits. Reflective belts are also extremely useful. Avoid wearing black or navy tracksuits or T-shirts, which can render you virtually invisible to traffic. 
  • Walk defensively: Walk or run with your direction in mind. Don't simply assume that all road-users know about the 'pedestrian has right-of-way' rule. Look both ways before you cross the street. Remember, cars can come quickly and from all directions so make sure you pay attention and look closely.
  • Lose the jewelry: Leave the valuables back home.If jogging alone, always tell someone which route you will be taking and what time you expect to return.
  • Obey the Law: Cross at intersections, look left and right before crossing, obey "walk" and "don't walk" signs.  Don't assume drivers will stop, make eye contact and clearly indicate that you are going to cross.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Carry a cellphone or whistle and some form of identification in case of an emergency. If you are running/walking on holiday or business, make a note of the address where you are staying. 
  • Keep right: If you're on a cycling or pedestrian path, always take the right hand side so that faster walkers, runners and cyclists can easily pass. If you're with one or more companions, don't hog the path and prevent others from easily overtaking.
  • Face traffic: If your routes do not have bike paths or sidewalks and you are forced onto the road, always walk or run in the direction facing oncoming traffic.
  • Be alert: To avoid any potential dangers, look for and listen to traffic, other pedestrians, cyclists etc.. Never get into a car with a stranger, even if they offer you a ride or ask for your help. Adults should only ask other adults for help.
  • Trust your instincts: it's ok to say NO if you feel uncomfrotable. Tell someone and get help, if needed.

Bike Path Safety:

Cycling is a fun and healthy way to get around. Whether you cycle to and from a friend's house, school, or just around your neighbourhood, you'll enjoy it most when your road safety skills are in good shape.

Use the bike paths:

  • Keep to the right.
  • Shoulder-check to see if the way is clear and pass other users only when safe.
  • Slow down! Keep under the courtesy limit of 20 km/h; please use the road if you want to go faster.
  • Use your bell or voice to warn others when you pass.
  • If there are no bike paths, you must obey the same rules of the road as other vehicles. See more on bike safety and sharing the road.
  • Children should only ride on the road if they're with an adult or they've learned the proper hand signals and rules of the road.
  • If you need to stop for a minute, pull off the pathway.
  • Look out for volunteer Pathway Patrollers in the summer if you need assistance.

Wear a helmet

Anyone under the age of 18, must by law, wear a helmet in Ontario but we recommend everyone wear one. It could save your life.

  • A helmet fits correctly when it fits snugly and does not move around.A boy wearing his helmet correctly (straight) and a boy wearing is helmet incorrectly (tilted).
  • It should sit two finger-widths above your eyebrows.
  • The strap should meet in a 'V' just below your ears and you shouldn't be able to place more than two fingers between your chin and the strap.
  • Also, it's unsafe to wear a hat under your helmet.

More on bike safety.

Police Officers on bike patrol.