Pedestrian Etiquette & Distracted Walking

Distracted Walking

Okay, I’ve got to get this off my chest. Living in Vancouver, you get used to the fact that there are a lot of people crammed into a relatively small area. In the summer months, that population density increases thanks to the tourists. That’s fine. I like a busy city with lots of people from different cultures and different parts of the world. Yay diversity!

What I don’t like are people who think they own the sidewalks. You know who I’m talking about – those people that walk like they’re the only ones on the street, without a care in the world for those around them. Ugh! Those people drive me hella crazy some times.

Let me break it down for you. The people I’m talking about do the following:

  • Don’t look both ways when they exit a building to enter the sidewalk. They just walk on through and if they bump into you or cause you to swerve out of the way, oh well!
  • When walking on the street, they don’t maintain a regular pace. They speed up, slow down, and some times (most annoying of all) they’ll just stop all of a sudden! No warning, no moving out of the way first, just a complete, abrupt stop directly in front of you.
  • Let’s not forget those who like to walk in groups. Oh yeah, they’re delightful! They walk with the friends, side by side, taking up the whole sidewalk. Everyone else? Guess we’ll just have to walk into the street and dodge traffic to get around them.
  • And last but not least, we’ve all heard of distracted driving right? In fact, it’s against the law in most places now to have your phone in your hand and drive at the same time. Well, the same should apply to people walking and texting. Look up!!!!! If you need to text or read an email or whatever, move over to the side of the street and go at it. But please, oh please, don’t do it while walking in front of me.

Don’t even get me started about umbrellas! In Vancouver, it rains a fair bit and what starts as a beautiful, sunny day can often include a sudden burst of showers so we usually have our umbrellas with us. Some people have umbrellas that are appropriately sized for one or two people to walk under. Others however, feel it’s completely justified to bring out their golfing umbrellas which are capable or sheltering an entire family. Is their entire family huddled up underneath with them? Nope, just one person….

Whether they have a big or small umbrella, there are some people who are completely oblivious to the people around them. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve nearly had an eye poked out by someone else’s umbrella. The best is when the person in front of me decides to tilt their umbrella downwards to shake off the rain. Guess what people – water sprays! Yup, your little shake off just drenched my clothes and sadly, I’m not Gene Kelly walking around in my suit “singing in the rain.”

So, what are we to do? Well, if you are one of the people mentioned above, listen closely. If you know someone who is, send them over to Farzopolis to read this post. And if you’re just like me and can feel the pain, let out a big sigh and commiserate with me.

Here are my tips. They’re pretty simple actually and mostly common sense:

  • Think of walking as driving.
  • You need to look both ways.
  • Shoulder check.
  • Maintain a steady speed.
  • Indicate when you want to change lanes or exit the sidewalk.
  • Pull over if you want to do anything on your phone.
  • Keep a good distance between you and your fellow pedestrians – especially when you have an umbrella.

One final gripe about umbrellas. If you have one, use it and stay out from under the overhangs and canopies that the people who don’t have an umbrella are using to stay dry.

That’s all – simple stuff people. You can do it! I know you can :-)

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