Where I Reveal My Type "A" Side

I went for a walk at lunch the other day and I think that it is time for a refresher on sidewalk basics. Some rules, if you please:

1.  The sidewalk works like a two-way street. Kindly keep to the right side of the sidewalk as you would when driving.

2.  I walk fast. Really fast. I don’t mind if you walk slowly, but if you are a slow walker, it is extra important that you keep to the right. In other words the slow lane. Leave the middle for us fast walkers to pass.

3.  When coming out of a store whose door opens right onto the sidewalk, look both ways before stepping out. Yield to pedestrians already on the sidewalk.

4.  Don’t bike on the sidewalk. Seriously. Don’t.

5.  If you should happen to walk faster than I do, though this is highly unusual, wait until there is space to pass me safely. I don’t want to be bumped by your backpack or elbow.

6.  Never meander when walking on the sidewalk. Chances are I am behind you and trying to pass and I really don’t want to hit you with my backpack or elbow.

7.  Strollers are perfectly acceptable. Even the SUV-sized ones. Just follow the keeping to the right rule, and we will get along just fine.

8.  If you are walking along and bump into a friend of yours and want to stop and talk, move out of the way of the pedestrian traffic. Do not stop and take up the entire way.

9.  Don’t bike on the sidewalk. Yes, this one warrants repeating.

10.  If you do realize you have made an error in negotiating the sidewalk and have inadvertently bumped into or otherwise inconvenienced someone, acknowledge the error with a ‘sorry’. It happens to the best of us.

11.  When waiting on a corner for a light to change, don’t block the way of people who are walking along and crossing in the other direction or who are turning the corner.

12.  If I’m waiting at a corner for a light to change, don’t come along and stand in front of me. Chances are I walk a lot faster than you do.

13.  Be aware of your surroundings. Scan the area in front of you and be aware of obstacles or vehicles that are not aware of you.

14.  Drinking and walking? Absolutely! Just please stay safe.

There. Fourteen simple rules to follow to make the sidewalks a happier place for all of us. Now get out there. What are you waiting for? This is a beautiful time of year for being outside and getting some exercise.

About Finola

I am an Ottawa area Mom, writer-want-to-be and coffee legend in the making.
This entry was posted in downtown, sidewalks, walking. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Where I Reveal My Type "A" Side

  1. Amy B says:

    Yes, yes and yes.
    I have taken to telling people that it's illegal to bike on the sidewalk while they're passing me.

  2. JoeGirl says:

    Awesome post, Fin! I loved seeing your wittiness shine though. Beautifully composed.

    Would love to go drinking and walking with you some evening soon 🙂

  3. fiona says:

    4 and 9 would be fine IF ottawa drivers didn't make it so SCARY to bike on the road!! personally, i'd change them to “if you must bike on the sidewalk, don't rush, use your BELL, and ALWAYS give way to pedestrians.” just mho. 🙂

    meanwhile, i'll be sure not to block faster walkers than myself!

  4. Jen says:

    Finola, I am guilty of #6, and #14. Especially in New Orleans…where they give out 'to go' cups. hiccup.

  5. Um, can you send this along to my stalker friend? If she had these rules, I probably wouldn't be in my current predicament of Conflicted Walker Waiting to Be Attacked By Mean Woman.

  6. Nat says:

    Whoa that's a lot of rules.

    I'd be happy if we could just get the bicycles, inline skaters, and skateboards off the sidewalks.

  7. Nat says:

    Oh and unless you're a child there is no reason EVER for a cyclist to be on the sidewalk. If the road is too scary for biking then you should walk your bike. (Sorry Fiona… I got hit by a bicycle and I know people who've gotten seriously hurt getting hit by cyclist — off the sidewalk.)

  8. Ben W says:

    Can you make rules for walking in malls? \especially with the meandering and stopping to talk. And drinking!

  9. Finola says:

    Amy, I'm glad you agree. Even though I bike a lot, I never bike on the sidewalk.

    Joe, Yes! Soon!

    Fiona, I agree there are some nasty cars out there. If I don't feel safe in an area I will walk my bike on the sidewalk, or find another route. But I hear you.

    Jen, LOL, I hadn't put together #6 and #14, but they really should be linked 🙂

    Jana, I probably would have taken on your stalker the same as you did. Send her to Ottawa!

    Nat, Agreed!

    Ben, Funny you should bring up malls. My Mom suggested I do a follow up post on grocery store aisles (Hi Mom!), and the two would go together nicely!

  10. eisangel says:

    After grocery shopping today, something I rarely do on the weekend, I feel the need to write a post for grocery shoppers. Oy!

  11. Sid. says:

    It's amazing how many people need some basic walking etiquette lessons. I would also add rules for people with dogs on flexi-leads. Bonus marks if they're drinking a coffee, pushing an urban-assault stroller and talking on a cellphone while their mutt tries to clothesline unsuspecting people.

  12. Oh crap – I'm probably guilty of half these….been living in the country so long that even small cities totally fluster me and I never know where I'm going. I'm the indecisive one on the sidewal wondering which street light to cross at first! On the other hand, I always treat sidewalks as a highway and keep to the right except to pass.

  13. I would love to see recommendations/rules for all kinds of things…riding the bus, cycling, checkout line etiquette. Would you consider expanding on more topics with your type A personality and wit? That would be awesome. 🙂

  14. hugosmomma says:

    Love your 14 rules! Agreed. I don't walk in crowded areas or during prime time but I occasionally walk my dogs on the sidewalk. I could come up with some rules for people who try to pass me on their bikes and almost take out a dog! Vet bills people? I let my pooches sniff and wander when there's no one around BUT when there is a person approaching, they a reeled in to heeling TIGHT beside me or I pull over to the right out of the way. Not everyone likes a dog, and I TRY MY BEST to be considerate but what about those darned bikes on sidewalks! Can you tell I have a bee in my bonnet about bikes on sidewalks? LOL

  15. Finola says:

    eisangel, sevaeral people mentioned grocery store aisles so I think I will have to do a follow-up post.

    Sid, I can't believe I forgot to mention dog walkers and people on cell phones. Follow-up post for sure now!

    Denise, You are so sweet it would be easy to forgive you in the circustances. Just try to look a little lost when you're downtown.

    MM, Oh – Dear Miss Finola. I like it!

    Hugosmomma, I love dog owners like you who keep their dogs in control. And as a cyclist and pedestrian, I look out for dogs and owners too.

  16. JuliaR says:

    We wouldn't need the rules if people would adhere to just one: “Pay Attention”! People are pretty self-involved.

    #12 resonates for me as a cyclist. Here's my version: “If I have passed you on the road while cycling (i.e. I am faster than you are), and then I find myself stopped at a red light, it is the height of arrogance and rudeness and oblivion for you to pull up in front of me, in the crosswalk, thus forcing me to pass you again in the next stretch of road.” Believe it or not, I have had this happen more than several times, and at more than three intersections in a row, with the same slower cyclist. I should have said something.

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