Q&A - Unmarked Crosswalks

Q&A ImageQuestion: It is my understanding that any intersection, including a "T" intersection, that does not have marked crosswalks is deemed to have unmarked crosswalks and that a pedestrian has the same protection (rights) in the unmarked crossing as in a marked one.

In fact it used to be common to see signage on the highways stating that unmarked crosswalks would be enforced, but they seem to have disappeared.

example of how unmarked crosswalks look

I strongly feel that this topic needs to be clarified and if my contention is true, the topic deserves much stronger emphasis by ICBC than is presently the case, including active public awareness campaigns. I live on the old Island Highway in Campbell River and watch daily as people sail through intersections that lack marked crosswalks where a pedestrian is waiting to cross to the seawalk on the opposite side.

I personally had a very scary experience recently where I had stopped to allow a mother and young child to cross at an intersection with unmarked crosswalks. For greater clarity, as I was continuing on the highway, my turn signals were not on. A car approaching from the rear pulled out onto the shoulder to pass just as the pedestrians were passing in front of me. Fortunately, leaning on the horn alerted both the pedestrians and, at the last moment, the other driver who responded with a 1 finger wave. The pedestrian was visibly shaken as was I feeling that I had created the opportunity for this very close call.

When I pointed out to the other driver that his actions represented 2 offences; passing on the right and proceeding through an occupied crosswalk. I received a heated response that there was no crosswalk there and he was totally ignorant of the concept of unmarked crosswalks. Aside from the obviously unsafe behaviour, I think ignorance of the relevant laws lends some legitimacy to his actions in his mind.

Please clarify the law in this regard and consider greater public awareness as this is a very critical safety issue, particularly in highly populated rural areas where there are many unmarked crosswalks coupled with a lack of sidewalks in many areas.

Drivers Don't Stop Like They Should

I certainly agree with you. Drivers don't stop for much whether they have to or not. This is not the only area where there is a lack of knowledge and I don't think that advertising is going to solve the problem. Mandatory retest before renewal would provide some incentive, I think.

Marked Crosswalks

(a) a portion of the roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by signs or by lines or other markings on the surface, or

Unmarked Crosswalks

(b) the portion of a highway at an intersection that is included within the connection of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on the opposite sides of the highway, or within the extension of the lateral lines of the sidewalk on one side of the highway, measured from the curbs, or in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the roadway;

(a) above indicates a marked crosswalk that is defined by paint or other marks on pavement or simply a sign that indicates people are supposed to cross in a certain place.

(b) is the unmarked crosswalk that you are speaking of and the critical word contained within it is "sidewalk."


"sidewalk" means the area between the curb lines or lateral lines of a roadway and the adjacent property lines improved for the use of pedestrians;

Whether the improvements are intended for pedestrians or not is a critical determination as you can see by reading this Failing to Stop for Pedestrian topic.

Point Your Way to Safety

All pedestrians can significantly increase the chance of having a driver yield the right of way by pointing their way to safety. That is, standing facing across the roadway with an arm held straight out at shoulder height clearly indicating the wish to cross.

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So on the old Island Highway passing through Qualicum Beach there are only 3 marked crosswalks. Are the other crossings from a roadway considered unmarked crosswalks the same as in Town on a roadway?

I wasn't clear on the definition above. I think we have a similar situation to what is occuring in Campbell River. The danger of stopping on the old Highway is that people are very likely going to pass on the right and endanger the lives of pedestrians.

thanks in advance for clarifying responses.

The rules are the same, in town or out of town.

If you look a couple of posts up there is a link to an article containing case law. That is probably the best thing to read as it explains carefully what the judge finds to be conditions that create an unmarked crosswalk.

Many drivers do not think passing a vehicle through completely before doing it. It's an offence to pass a vehicle that is slowing down or stopped for a pedestian, on either side.