Pedestrian etiquette

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Pedestrian etiquette is the general courtesy expected from those walking among other pedestrians. Pedestrian etiquette involves staying out of the way of fellow pedestrians and not hindering their ability to travel. Doing this prevents collisions that may potentially cause injury or damage to person or property.

General courtesies[edit]

Some courtesies apply especially to crowded areas such as a large bustling city, or crowded halls. These are some general rules regarding such places.[1]

  • It is always recommended to use the sidewalks (footpath) because you are safely separated from the automobiles

Where there is no sidewalk, you should walk facing the oncoming traffic. This means, in countries with a right hand traffic system (like The United States), you should walk on the left side of the road. In countries, with a left hand traffic system (like India), you should walk on the right side of the road.[2]

  • Don't suddenly stop.

When the path is crowded, stopping suddenly, will instantly cause a jam in pedestrian traffic, as those immediately behind the stopped individual will need to stop as well. If stopping is necessary, one should move out of the way first.

  • Don't fill the width of the path when walking in groups.

When walking in a group, if you crowd every "lane" of the sidewalk or hallway, others will not be able to get through.

  • Don't step on people's heels.

When walking very close to someone a pedestrian may be liable to step on their heels. This can cause either of the pedestrians to lose their footing and take serious injury.

  • Watching out for others.

Basically this means, preventing collisions. When not paying attention, like when talking on the phone, texting, or even reading a book you become much more likely to collide with a passerby. Collisions can be disastrous and lead to multiple injuries and costly damages.

  • Keeping pets close by.[3]

Wandering pets begin to become a large problem in crowded pathways. They get in people’s way and their leashes may become obstacles themselves.

  • Don’t leave obstacles in other pedestrian’s way.

This is a general complaint of people setting things down in the middle of a pathway. When this happens, it bottlenecks the traffic attempting to steer around it.

  • Do not stand in the middle of a pathway.

A sidewalk or hallway is not a good place to hold a conversation. When this happens the way for others is clearly obstructed and people may attempt to push through the individuals standing in the path, possibly leading to serious collisions.

  • Do not spit onto the walkway.

This is unsanitary. It is rude to do so on a walkway that is used by others. People may inadvertently walk into the discharge that was left behind (tracking it elsewhere).

  • Look both ways before stepping onto a path.

When stepping out of a doorway or around a corner, you should check for oncoming pedestrians before stepping out. This will help to avoid a collision.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Santora, Marc. "Think You Own the Sidewalk?; Etiquette by New York Pedestrians Is Showing a Strain". New York Times.
  2. ^ "What side of the road should you walk on? Which side is safer?", Quora. Accessed 26 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Urban Etiquette: Be a Better Pedestrian — Or Get Out of My Way". Borderstan.