SIDEWALK RULES: WALK RIGHT, PASS LEFT

In case anyone forgot, it’s 2020. That means it’s been 150 years since the first sidewalk was paved in America. Why is there not a centennial golden jubilee celebration planned anywhere for this?! I’m a bit disappointed honestly. Whatever, it’s fine. I will move on with my life. Maybe I’ll go outside and draw a chalk cake on the ground. But with the candles that just have the numbers on them – you know, the cheater candles. The product invented so someone didn’t have to math before a party. That’s why your cake just has two candles to spell out your age and not one for each year. Take it personally. If they really cared about you they would have taken the time to count out each year you’ve been alive.

Sidewalks probably don’t have feelings like humans do. They probably don’t feel sad when someone forgets their birthday. Someone who uses them constantly and never acknowledges their worth. Just stomps all over them without so much as a thank you. *Probably*. We don’t know. Supposedly plants have feelings, so why can’t concrete? Or brick? Or pavement? I, for one, care about the sensitive side of our sidewalks. Specifically where they may be caving in a bit so I know where not to step and blow something small into a big issue. I don’t need to twist an ankle and miss a week of adult soccer. My whole social life would be in disarray. 

Kind of like the confusion that happens when a sidewalk abuser doesn’t follow the one rule necessary to participate on said piece of concrete. Surely, you know what rule this is. It’s the same rule that is in place on pavement all over the country. One that everyone can (mostly) follow while operating a motorized vehicle. Frustratingly, though, when you take someone out of a machine and have them use their own legs, or some sort of leg powered transportation method, all chaos breaks loose. Walk right, pass left.

WALK RIGHT, PASS LEFT! This should not be new information. And yet, it still seems to confuse people. A lot like when you try driving the wrong way down a one way street, but with less judgement, or consequences. Which is a shame. I think I should be able to file an insurance claim if you come at me, when I’m on the right side and you’re walking on the left, and I spill my smoothie because we both refuse to move.

While that is obviously the golden rule, it is not the only rule. Like pretty much everything else in life. Another good one, almost as important, is not to take up the entire space when walking in a group. Just because you have friends, and want to flaunt it to nature, or the road, doesn’t mean you get priority. Since sidewalk width is variable, you are allowed to take up the following amount of space:

(Sidewalk Width / Number of People in Group) * 0 + 1

One. You get one human sized space. What if the sidewalk is popular? What if it’s foot traffic rush hour? What if there’s non foot traffic present? So many things that make taking up too much space downright dangerous. If you wanted to talk to someone, do it somewhere safer. And with less rules. Like a bench maybe. Or a couch. Or a table at a restaurant. Or on your phone. The one exception to this overpopulation rule is clearly dogs. Not cats. If there is a cat on a leash it better be in your people bubble.

Dogs can account for an extra two human sized spaces. Since they have hearts sized twice as big as one human. Simple math. Simple logic. These should be carved in stone at every possible entrance to every sidewalk, and trail, in the world. A manageable task really. If we can’t get walking right, where does that really leave us on more challenging tasks? Like driving. In a constant chicken with our heads cut off state. Perpetual deer in the headlights confusion. Don’t be that person. Imagine you’re driving yourself down the sidewalk. And for goodness sake look before you swerve out into the middle to pass someone.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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