Pedestrians are told to cross at intersections or crosswalks. It is said that they have the right-of-way at intersections with crosswalks or stop lights or signs for the road they are crossing. However, if they cross the road where there is no crosswalk or intersection nearby, the must yield right-of-way to cars. But what about intersections with no crosswalk or stop lights or signs for the road they are crossing? The law is not clear on the SAAQ site, neither in the highway code. I'm talking about a one or two-way stop intersection, so the street the pedestrian is walking on has a stop sign (maybe only in the opposite direction the pedestrian is walking though, if walking opposite a one-way street), but the crossing street doesn't. This is not an intersection with missing or damaged stop signs or lights, it's meant to not have stops signs for one of the roads. So it's not treated as a four-way stop. Crosswalks are generally put at places where there is no intersection, so maybe intersections would default to right-of-way if crosswalks are not needed. Crosswalks are visible with white lines, when there.

Edit: I found another page that may explain that pedestrians are to be yielded to at intersections (it doesn't make a type explicit),

Yield the right of way to pedestrians at intersections

so that may clear things up, though I haven't seen it so clear in the highway code.

People can answer for different regions if they want, for reference for the question.

2 Answers 2


It is never acceptable to hit a pedestrian in an accident that can be avoided. When push comes to shove, the vehicle must yield to the pedestrian.

Probably the best approach is to assume that there is an implied in law crosswalk at an unmarked intersection, even if it is not visibly marked. The highway code does not appear to define the term "crosswalk."

  1. Unless otherwise directed by a sign or signal, the driver of a road vehicle or a cyclist must, at an intersection or junction, yield the right of way to any vehicle moving on his right on the roadway he is about to cross or enter where the vehicle or cyclist is so close that crossing or entering the roadway would constitute a hazard.

  2. The driver of a road vehicle or a cyclist who leaves private property to cross or enter a public highway must yield the right of way to any vehicle or pedestrian moving on the highway..

  3. The driver of a road vehicle or a cyclist on a public highway who is about to enter private property must yield the right of way to any road vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian moving on the highway.

  4. The driver of a road vehicle or a cyclist must yield the right of way to a pedestrian who is crossing a roadway facing a steady, white signal representing a walking figure, or a flashing pedestrian light.

  5. At an intersection regulated by traffic lights, the driver of a road vehicle or a cyclist must yield the right of way to a pedestrian facing a green light.

  6. When a pedestrian enters or clearly demonstrates the intention to enter a pedestrian crosswalk, the driver of a road vehicle must stop his vehicle to allow the pedestrian to cross. At such a crossing, a cyclist must also give pedestrians the priority.

Section 446-447 applicable to pedestrians state:

At a pedestrian crosswalk not situated at an intersection regulated by traffic lights, a pedestrian must, before crossing the roadway, ascertain that he can do so in safety.

Where there are no clearly identified intersections or pedestrian crosswalks in the immediate area, a pedestrian crossing a public highway must yield the right of way to the road vehicles and cyclists moving on it.

In this case there is an intersection in the immediate area, but there are no visible crosswalks, so the code has no clear guidance and the general concern about not hitting pedestrians probably prevails.

  • 1
    The law does say that cars have the right-of-way when pedestrians are crossing outside an intersection or crosswalk. Of course they can't just hit people, but they do have the right-of-way in those circumstances. I'm not inquiring about a 4-way stop, where signs are missing or damaged, it's meant to be a one or two-way stop. Only one road has cars stopping, the other doesn't. But it's not clear for pedestrians. Though pedestrians are told to cross at intersections, it's just not clear if that includes the right-of-way.
    – user54192
    Jan 31 at 0:24
  • @user14094230 Honestly, it is a little hard to visualize the intersection you are describing which seems like it shouldn't exist if the roads are built to legal specifications. It appears that the highway code contemplates that intersections will always have crosswalks, or lights, or signs that provide adequate guidance.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 31 at 0:44
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    @user14094230 This is what you usually think of as a crosswalk, but that may not be the legal definition. The legal definition may be the path that one should take at an interaction between corners whether or not it is still visible. A one way stop is hard to imagine. It seems like something is missing.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 31 at 2:24
  • 1
    This may clear things up, sounds like any intersection they yield "Yield the right of way to pedestrians at intersections" saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/road-safety/behaviours/sharing-road/…
    – user54192
    Jan 31 at 2:33
  • 3
    @user14094230 Unless Quebec is different then other places I have been smaller roads do not always have the cross walks painted on the street and every intersection is considered to be a cross walk for pedestrians to cross at. It isn't even uncommon for the bigger streets not to be marked with pain as well and just have lights that control when people can cross.
    – Joe W
    Jan 31 at 17:54

From the Road User's Handbook p.72:

Give way to pedestrians

As a driver, you must give way to pedestrians:

  • at pedestrian and children’s crossings

  • when turning at intersections

  • when doing a U-turn

  • in shared zones

  • when entering or leaving a driveway.

Always slow down and be prepared to stop if there’s any danger of colliding with a pedestrian even if they do not have right of way or are jaywalking (crossing the road illegally).

It says elsewhere that you have to obey traffic lights, so there's that too.

Assuming it isn't a crossing, a shared zone, or a traffic light, turning vehicles give way to pedestrians, and pedestrians give way to straight-through vehicles.

Of course, if a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the driver is getting booked even if they had the right of way - rule No 1: don't collide with anything, especially pedestrians.

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