Walking is not difficult – you look ahead in the direction you are walking, listen to sounds that tell you what is happening nearby, and most importantly you use your common sense.
Sadly there are too many idiots walking dangerously on footpaths, in shopping centres and railway stations. I don’t know why it is so difficult for people to walk intelligently, safely and being aware of other pedestrians.
These are the 7 most dangerous and annoying habits I have observed:
- Keep to the left. This is the convention in this country. Keep the left, particularly when you walk around a corner. I nearly had a collision the other day with an office worker as she turned a corner while carrying her lunch. City Rail has put up signs at Town Hall station saying “Keep Left” but these will be ignored like every other sign including Quiet Carriages.
- Look to the front, not at your phone. While you walk, look ahead to see where you are going. Don’t look at your phone to read Facebook, browse Instagram, type messages or catch Pokemon. If you must do that, then stop walking.
- Don’t block your ears with headphones. You need to listen to what’s going on around you and not be distracted. I have seen people walking with noise cancelling headphones. This is extremely dangerous! I can imagine that person walking on to the road, oblivious to oncoming traffic. Save the music listening for your train or bus trip, please!
- Don’t talk and walk. Another distracted behavior is the person chatting away on a phone call while walking briskly. Their concentration is on the phone call and not on people nearby. If you need to make a phone call, stop walking and concentrate on your call. Don’t multitask walking and talking.
- Give way when merging. Just like driving a car, when you join another stream of pedestrian traffic you should give way. Observe other people to avoid a collision. I have often had to avoid pedestrian who quickly leave a shop, completely oblivious to other pedestrians.
- Don’t suddenly stop. Now that Pokemon Go has become the latest fad, I have to be aware of people, often in pairs, who suddenly stop in the middle of a busy street. Another common behavior is to suddenly stop to respond to a text message or dial a number. Please can you just wait to use your phone ?
- Don’t use your phone while crossing the street. There are many public awareness campaigns to urge phone-addicted pedestrians to put the phone down while crossing the road. But you can’t stop idiots doing idiotic things. I continue to see people in the city talking on the phone and crossing the road unsafely. This is the same as the 4th habit – Don’t talk and walk.
More articles on crazy pedestrians
I gave a humorous speech on this topic in 2012 – Walk on the Wild Side. The article includes a video recording.
Earlier in 2011 I wrote Pedestrian Hazards documenting my challenges in walking in crowded Sydney.