Letter: Sidewalk Etiquette


We all know the rules of the bathroom and elevator: Don’t talk to or acknowledge anybody. Ever. But, perhaps, there is still something we need to address: sidewalk etiquette.  A few basic social norms should reduce the amount of shuffle steps we’ve all experienced as we clumsily dodge head-on collisions.

It’s easiest if you think of the sidewalk norms as rules of the road. For example: Walk on the right side; pass on the left (if there is room).  Stay in your lane.  Don’t stop-short to commit a U-turn (common with lost freshman).  Check both ways before merging into a hallway (especially from a bath/classroom).  And when turning, yield to oncoming foot traffic.  Finally, when approaching a sidewalk intersection, the right of way goes to the people on larger paths. Diagonal walkways relative to campus buildings yield to straight sidewalks.

There are some other faux-pas of foot travel which may be less obvious, given their prevalence:  stopping in the middle of hallways/sidewalks to socialize, especially when the conversation is perpendicular to the flow of traffic.  Also, if you’re walking shoulder to shoulder in a group of three or more, you may not force on-comers off the sidewalk. Inadvertent swerving while staring off into space makes your behavior unpredictable and results in awkward encounters. You get the idea.

Violations will result in impatient glares, traffic jams, possible shoulder bumping, and feelings of stupidity.

St. Paris, Ohio

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