How Canada's pedestrian-controlled intersections actually work

Traffic signal lights in British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and other parts of Canada feature a flashing green traffic light to indicate it as a "pedestrian-controlled" intersection; meaning the traffic signal has a request to cross button that has not been pressed by a pedestrian yet, drivers should proceed through the intersection as normal but be ready to stop if the light turns into a "stale" green.

steady green light — green means go only if the intersection is clear, and it is safe to do so.

• stale green light — a stale green light is one that has been green for a long time, and is about to turn yellow. If you didn't see the light turn green, then it may be stale. Look for additional clues:

– are there a lot of cars lined up on the cross street waiting for the light to change?

– in many areas, the crosswalk signal will change from a white figure to an orange hand just before the light turns yellow, or will show how many seconds are left before the traffic light will change.

Learn to drive smart | ICBC

flashing green light — watch for pedestrians, who may activate the pedestrian traffic light to change to yellow and then to red. Even if the pedestrian traffic light is not activated, traffic on the side street is facing a stop sign, and may be waiting to move into the intersection when it is clear and safe to do so.

Learn to drive smart | ICBC

While digging through a healthy chunk of Canadian provinces and territories Handbook/driving guide/manual, I found it interesting that while some provinces like Alberta define how pedestrians should and shouldn't function, Saskatchewan goes a step further and pushes for tough love on Jaywalkers.

Jaywalking is when a pedestrian crosses a roadway in violation of traffic laws, typically when crossing outside of a marked or unmarked intersection.

You must always be prepared to stop if you see a pedestrian who is about to step out in front of you. But don't encourage jaywalking by stopping and inviting pedestrians to cross. The car behind you may not be expecting you to stop and may collide with you. Also, drivers in the other lanes might not see the pedestrian crossing in front of your vehicle and may hit them.

Jaywalkers | Saskatchewan Driver's Handbook

All this talk about flashing lights brings Kanye West's "Flashing Lights" to the fore to help start you week: