Why are you walking on the left side of the sidewalk?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by tzhu07, May 3, 2015.

  1. tzhu07 macrumors regular


    Nov 12, 2008
    Unofficial rules.

    In the US, you drive on the right side. By extension, when walking on the sidewalk, you walk along the right half. If you're coming straight at me and about to collide with me, and you're on the wrong side, it is YOU who needs to move, not me.
  2. adnbek macrumors 65816


    Oct 22, 2011
    Montreal, Quebec
    Your rules are wrong. For safety reasons in zones without dedicated sidewalks separate from traffic, pedestrians are always suggested to walk against traffic so that they can see what's coming towards them and react accordingly.
  3. ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    By what extension? You cannot compare driving a vehicle to walking on a sidewalk, there are no tests nor training for walking on a sidewalk. If someone won't yield, simply move out of their way - it's not going to rob you of resources or shorten your life.
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Yes, very wrong. Pedestrian traffic does not mirror vehicular traffic.
    You use common sense, along with courtesy.
    Exp: I am walking with my friend beside me. I, as the safeguard of another life, take it upon myself to walk in a position that keeps my friend out of harm's way, which would mean that my walking path will be closer to the edge, or closer to the vehicle lanes, or nearer to a construction area, etc - could be on the right, or left, my choice.
    Also, what will you do if you are walking, approaching my position, but I am standing still? Being on a sidewalk does not suggest continuous movement. I can just as easily stand and watch the people move past. Try not to run me over, if you can avoid it at your high walking rate. :D
  5. MatthewLTL, May 4, 2015
    Last edited: May 4, 2015

    MatthewLTL macrumors 68000


    Jan 22, 2015
    Rochester, MN
    I never gave this second thought BUT there is some points on both sides. Some places they actually HAVE solid yellow lines painted on foot paths or bike paths, some places have signs that state "Walk on the right" or "Keep right" i have seen (and do have) both examples in areas around where I live. Although, unlike vehicle traffic, sidewalks are not enforced, so even though its common courtesy to walk on the right half (or bike on the right half) of the sidewalk its never done people walk down the center and RARELY ever move over for a person coming in the other direction. I think this could be due to how narrow sidewalks are.

    I DO however agree with this logic while inside a store, you don't drive your car in the wrong direction or park your car in the middle of the road, dont do that while pushing a cart either!

    EDIT: you are actually only advised to walk AGAINST traffic IF there is no sidewalk. if you are on a sidewalk it doesn't matter which direction you walk versus which side of the street you are on.
  6. Mousse macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2008
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    If the other guy is a lot bigger than you, YOU need to move aside, not him. Who would fair better in a collision?:eek:

    None of these stupid rules matter to me anyhow.:rolleyes: I'm the bigger man and will step a side and yield right of way to the people going the other way. It's better to be nice than right, IMO.
  7. iLog.Genius macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    YES! SUCH A HUGE ANNOYANCE! The worst is when you stop or stay on the right side and the person walking towards you gives you the ugliest look. There is no need to think, stay to your right and there is no problem!
  8. puma1552 macrumors 603

    Nov 20, 2008
    You and the three people who up-voted didn't understand the original post.

    What the OP was saying had absolutely nothing to do with respect to which side of the road a sidewalk was on or walking with/against traffic, it was for any given random sidewalk anywhere, and he was referencing the left/right side as being the left/right side of a given sidewalk.

    He's saying if you are walking on a sidewalk (through a park where there's no road nearby, for example), you should be walking on the right side of the sidewalk.

    Had nothing to do with directionality of traffic.
  9. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

    Dec 21, 2009
    Far away from liberals
    I don't care what the so called rules are, I always walk against traffic whether it be cars, pedestrians or bicyclists . It's important so see what's coming at you so you can get out of the way if the worst happens. Trust me, I've been at it my whole adult life and I'm still here. BTW, I'm 63 years old it's worked for me..
  10. ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    Did you happen to read the post above yours?
  11. Mr. McMac Suspended

    Mr. McMac

    Dec 21, 2009
    Far away from liberals
  12. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2015
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    If you stay on the right of the sidewalk, you'll still be walking against the car traffic no matter which side of the road the sidewalk is on.

    Agree with the OP. Stay on the right even on the sidewalk.
  13. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    Please note, if this kind of thing frustrates you then avoid large crowds of walking people. Stay away from parks, fairs, malls, conventions, big sporting events, concerts, festivals, etc. All the people breaking your "unofficial rules" at these kinds of places might make your head explode. ;)
  14. Scepticalscribe, May 4, 2015
    Last edited: May 5, 2015

    Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Agree with mscriv.

    I suspect that it is modern urban life that the OP finds problematic.

    For Heaven's wake - dictating how to walk on a footpath instead of using a bit of courtesy and a modicum of common sense.

    Given that there is so much wrong with the world, to pick a fight on the basis of where one walks on a footpath - when one could easily step aside - strikes me as being manifestly absurd.

    For that matter, I would also argue that it seems an unusually belligerent - not to mention slightly ludicrous and extraordinarily emotionally exhausting - attitude to take to……..contesting ownership of - or disputing passage on - the humble footpath.
  15. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    So by extension, if you were in your car and came upon someone driving towards you on the wrong side of the road, would you still say, "it is YOU who needs to move, not me"?

    Because both cases involve a potential collision. And I do what I can to avoid those.
  16. bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    Yet on escalators and movers, there are distinct signs that state "Stand to the right, walkers to the left."



    Otherwise, you'd violate yet another rule of etiquette: Slow traffic keep right.

    Which one do you want, because you can't have both.

  17. Gutwrench Contributor


    Jan 2, 2011
    In a car, boat, or as a pedestrian I abide by the law of gross tonnage.
  18. MacDavey macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2015
    I find it best to always walk on the side away from the road when I can - whether that is the left or the right is not important to me.

    If someone is walking towards me, I move to the side next to the road so the person coming towards me can keep away from the road. Its just polite to not force other people to walk next to the road.
  19. Arran macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2008
    Atlanta, USA
  20. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Indeed. The same (unworthy) thought has also crossed my mind.

    Can one imagine such an attitude acted upon enthusiastically in the domestic sphere? Negotiated passage on the stairs? Right of way disputes in the living room? Contested access to the bathroom?
  21. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    My dad called that right of weight
  22. dannyyankou macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2012
    Scarsdale, NY
    I hate being stuck behind someone standing in the middle.
  23. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    'Hate'?? Good grief.

    That is such a strong and powerful verb to use for what is essentially a pretty minor - if slightly annoying - temporary inconvenience.

    Personally, I reserve the exhaustion and power of the verb 'to hate' for things that really matter in life, things that are a lot more important than mere - and temporary - inconvenience.
  24. G4er? macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2009
    Temple, TX
    After a lifetime of observation (52 years old) there seems to be a sliding scale based on age and pigmentation as to who moves over.
  25. TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2013
    The Clinton Archipelago unfortunately
    I don't think you understood what the OP was talking about. He isn't talking about walking on the wrong sidewalk....Assuming there is one on both sides of the road.

    See attached picture. He is saying same rules apply on the sidewalk as the road. I would agree with the OP and say it goes for hallways as well....at least in the USA. It is just proper etiquette.


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