There's a lot of movement in school zones: Parents and buses are picking up and dropping off children, crossing guards directing traffic, kids crossing streets and playing. When drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists are moving through all this activity, they have a lot to look out for.

Crossing guards

Crossing guards are placed in locations to serve elementary schools. A crossing guard's job is to temporarily stop traffic to keep children safe and allow pedestrians to cross safely.


When you see a crossing guard with a sign lifted:

  • Stop for school crossing guards and their pedestrians
  • Wait until pedestrians and crossing guards are completely off the road before proceeding 


Wait for the crossing guard to lift the sign before assuming traffic will stop. Follow the crossing guard's directions. 

Cyclists and scooter riders

As a cyclist or scooter rider approaching a crossing guard, you must walk your bike or scooter through the crossing. You cannot ride through it. 

School crossings

At a school crossing location, if a crossing guard is not present, pedestrians do not have the right of way. This is not considered a pedestrian crossover. Look for drivers before crossing the road.

View this video for information on how to safety use a school crossing: 

Safety tips for walking to school

People walking to school should be aware of the hazards that traffic and parking congestion can create. When walking:

  • Be seen, follow pedestrian safety signals and be aware
  • Stop, look, and listen before crossing the road, even when it is your turn to cross
  • Make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you before you go
  • Avoid distractions like texting, talking on your cellphone and wearing headphones when crossing the street
  • Jaywalking is dangerous as drivers are not expecting pedestrians to cross and may not see the person crossing. Always cross at pedestrian crossings

Safety tips for cycling to school

Similar to walking, cycling is good for children’s health, the environment and our communities.

To ensure a safe trip when riding a bike, consider some of the following tips:

  • Wear a helmet every time you ride – it is the law for anyone under the age of 18
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic
  • Use the designated bike lane where available
  • Ride beside parked cars as if all the car doors were open. As long as you are riding in a straight line, motorists coming from behind will see you and give you enough space.
  • Use hand signals early when turning or stopping – this lets drivers know what you are going to do next

Always stop:

  • At stop signs and red lights
  • At the edge of the road. Look all ways to see if the road is clear before entering a road.
  • For stopped school buses when their red lights are flashing
  • At all railroad crossings when the signals are flashing and down. Do not ride around signal arms.
  • For pedestrians at crosswalks
  • Two metres behind bus and streetcar doors and wait until the passengers have got on/off or reached the curb

School drop off zones

Some schools have drop off zones where students can be dropped off on school property from a vehicle.  These are only available at some schools, and in some cases, these are prioritized for students in Kindergarten and with special needs.

Using pedestrian crossings

We encourage everyone to use pedestrian crossings when available. These crossings are marked, often at traffic light intersections, so drivers have increased awareness of pedestrian presence.

Jaywalking is more unpredictable for drivers, increasing the odds of a collision when people try to cross the road with little or no warning. 


Here are a few simple actions that drivers can do to keep our community safe, especially in school zones:

  • Look for pedestrians, especially when turning left or right. Don’t just look in front of you. Check the entire crosswalk for pedestrian and cyclists
  • Do not use handheld electronic devices (texting or talking) or other distractions such as eating and drinking when driving
  • Be extra aware and follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighbourhoods where children are present and sometimes unpredictable
  • Adjust your driving according to weather and traffic conditions
  • Always make eye contact and confirm with pedestrians that they know you’re yielding the right of way or turning