Saturday, June 15, 2024

How to use Mississauga’s new bike and pedestrian ‘head start’ signals

Starting this summer, Mississauga is implementing Pedestrian Head Start Signals (also known as Leading Pedestrian Intervals) as well as Bike Head Start Signals (also known as Leading Bike Intervals). As one of the 99 actions outlined in the Vision Zero Action Plan, this update will give pedestrians and cyclists a five-second head start into their crossing before the light turns green for vehicles.

From a road safety perspective, Head Start Signals will help increase the visibility of people crossing through an intersection, reinforce their right of way and encourage drivers to yield. It also provides those with mobility challenges more time to begin their crossing before vehicles enter the intersection. Signal changes will happen where Accessible Pedestrian Signals (also known as Audible Pedestrian Signals) are already in place.

Close to 200 intersections will be updated with Pedestrian Head Start Signals, while more than 20 intersections with existing bike signals will be updated with Bike Head Start Signals.

Moving forward, as new intersections are built and upgraded across the city, Accessible Pedestrian Signals and Head Start Signals will be added.

How do the new head start signals work? The WALK signal comes on five seconds before drivers get the green light, giving pedestrians a head start.

When at an intersection with Pedestrian and/or Bike Head Start Signals, the rules for when to enter an intersection and when to wait are the same as with any other intersection. Only the timing will change.

When crossing the street, only enter the intersection when the walk signal is showing. Once the flashing hand and/or countdown signal begins, a pedestrian may finish crossing, but must not begin crossing the road.

For intersections with bike signals, wait for the bike signal to be green before proceeding. For intersections without bike signals, wait for the traffic light to be green before entering the intersection.

Drivers should follow traffic signals as usual. When preparing to turn, look for and yield to those crossing the street.

In 2022, Mississauga piloted Pedestrian Head Start Signals at the Lakeshore Road and Stavebank Road intersection. Last year, the City also updated signal timing at nearly 750 intersections to provide pedestrians more time to cross the street.

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