One would think that being a good pedestrian would be a simple thing to master. Yet as I traverse the city streets, pavements, stairs, elevators and public transport, I am continually surprised at the lack of etiquette of others. There are road rules to keep drivers in check, so it only seems fair that we recognise walking traffic with the same consideration and implement a set of rules to be obeyed.
It is time we bring in Rules for Walking!
We are taught to drive but when it comes to walking no one has ever really taught the masses how to behave during a jaunt in a public space. Taking a wander down the street can be fraught with frustration. How often does someone in front of you scream to a halt to check their phone, and you nearly collide into them!?
Pedestrians want change!
I would like to live in a world where visiting a local supermarket, shopping mall, or train station is a divine flow of order, respect and right of way. As I go about my daily life on foot, I want to feel that my walking rights are recognised and respected, allowing me more agility through streams of people, with a lower chance of impact and inconvenience.
Using the logic of road rules, here are five simple Rules for Walking:
1. Stay To The Side (Left or Right, depending on your country's road rules)
Just like driving a car, the etiquette of walking is to remain to the side, unless, overtaking. Which side you should take will depend on where you are living. If you live in a country like Australia or the UK, where you drive on the left, on an escalator you will stay to the left. If you live in the US, where people drive on the right, you should stay to the right. Wherever you live and whatever side of the road you drive on, it’s only polite to allow others to pass by. Sometimes people need to get somewhere, quickly, like getting that train which departs in two minutes or grabbing those last minute groceries in a shopping centre before the bus leaves in five! If you are in a group, stand a few stairs apart and edge to your left/right.
Don’t block the path of overtaking traffic.
2. Pull over when on Mobile devices
Most reasonable people would agree that it is hard to drive effectively if you are attempting to use a mobile phone. You need to see where you are going. The same applies for walking.
There is no difference between being in a car on the street, to making your way on your own two feet,
Looking down means more chances of collision so please reserve your viewing when it won’t impair your vision.
Pull over to the side if you need to use your device.
3. No drink walking
There’s nothing like being smashed in the shoulder by a drunken lout who, when walking past, misjudges his distance or balance, crashes into you, slightly dislodging your arm socket in the process and giving you a fright. Give fellow nightlife wanderers a bit of respect and don’t drink and walk.
If you can’t walk straight, it’s MORE than time to go home.
4. Give way to traffic
You wouldn’t enter an intersection, turn at a T- junction or turn a corner on the road, without looking for oncoming vehicles. So why should it be any different in the pedestrian world? It’s time for people to give way to others: look before you leap when coming in and out of shops, turning corners and coming in and out of lifts.
Wait for your moment to proceed to avoid unnecessary accidents.
If you wish to daydream, do it in a hammock, not whilst you’re walking in a busy thoroughfare. If you’re window-shopping, don’t forget your surroundings and immediately come to a halt without seeing if someone is behind you. OK, you have just seen the dress you want to wear on Saturday night in the window, but remember those who may be tail gating you.
If you wish to come to a stop, indicate your position, slow down your speed gradually and move out of the way until traffic has passed, otherwise you may very well get taken out accidentally.
Hopefully these Rules for Walking will be adopted and hence help all fellow footed travellers wherever they may be striding. May we make peace with those who don't adopt or know about these rules. We'll need some patience, deep breaths and restraint not to tell them about The Rules for Walking.
What more can I say? It can be a jungle out there.