Anti-Pedestrian Rant

No, this isn’t a car driver’s rant about pedestrians. It’s a pedestrian’s rant about pedestrians.


I’m a somewhat impatient person. I walk quickly, and I like to get where I’m going with a minimum of being fucked about. I felt at home in Hong Kong because the people there seem to be like me. Never been to New York, but I’m sure I’d like it for the same reason. BUT, you fuckheads in Sydney…

Geez, don’t you know there are unwritten traffic rules on the footpath (sidewalk)?
[li]If you’re walking out of a shop, you give the fuck way to people walking along the street.[/li][li]Don’t stop to look around right at the top of the motherfucking escalator in a busy underground station during peak hour.[/li][li]If you want to say “hi” to Opal, move to the side of the bloody footpath to do it. I’m sick of having to step out into the street because of you turds.[/li][li]when you say “bye” to Opal, do it before you start walking away. Don’t start walking with your head at 180 degrees to your feet, then turn around suddenly and whack me with your shopping bags, and look at me like it’s my fucking fault.[/li][li]If you want to talk to your friends on the escalator, don’t stand on the same step as them, you ratbastard moron. Some people have real jobs, and are trying to get past.[/li][li]Hellloooooa, spotty highschool girls with shrill voices (ohmigod! ohmiGOD!! OHMIGAAAAAAHD!!!), the stairs on the underground are for walking on, not for you little snot nosed brats to sit five abreast on while you do your “notice us” routine to the poor bloody commuters. Twirl your stale chewing gum at home, thank you.[/li][li]Yes, I did just step on the heel of your shoe. Aren’t I evil? I DID IT BECAUSE YOU FUCKING WELL STOPPED DEAD WITHOUT WARNING IN THE MIDDLE OF A CROWDED STREET.[/li]

Thank you James, that will be all.
[sub]“Very good, sir.”[/sub]

The escalator thing is a pet peeve of mine. I think a lot of people actually don’t know that you are not supposed to stand still side by side on the same step. And it never occurs to them to consider the possibility that they’re in the way of anyone who wants to get past. Then others think that if they see someone else behaving improperly, it’s okay for them to do so as well, so they disregard the rule.

Years ago, in London, I saw actual signs posted above escalators, telling people to stay to the right if they were standing still, and to the left if they were walking. I wish people would post signs for all escalators, worldwide.

I, by the way, am a “stand still” person. I can’t see the point of exerting myself when the escalator is willing to do the work. But it annoys me to see the poor people who want to walk up or down being stymied by clueless dopes who can’t be bothered to notice that they’re in someone’s way.

I’d say that’s a common element in many of the problems Loaded Dog lists – self centered, clueless jerks who can’t be bothered to notice that they are in others’ way.

There’s also an “I can’t ever be inconvenienced in the slightest” attitude at work in some situations. Like, they have to stop dead at the top of an escalator, or just outside a doorway, in order to look around and figure out which way to go. They can’t possibly walk a few steps till they’re not in anyone’s way and then orient themselves. Why no, then it might turn out that they’d walked three whole steps in the wrong direction! That would never do!

The ones that piss me off big time are those that stand in a crowd just at the platform entrance, making it difficult for the like of me to make my way down the platform. I have the last laugh though, if you bother to walk to the far end of the South-bound Picadilly at Kings-X you always get a seat even in rush hour, whilst the entrance-hangars cram themselves in like sardines.

Another chronically in a hurry pedestrian here. Airport pedestrians piss me off more than general pedestrians, because in airports, people frequently Are In A Hurry, even on escalators. With making a plane, it’s a one-shot deal, not like the commuter rail where another will be along shortly. I have found myself charging up and down escalators, loudly chanting “Stand to the right, please, excuse me, stand to the right, please” because people just don’t act courteously. Men in business suits follow me on escalators like the Pied Piper’s rats.
And another thing to people on airport escalators: If you MUST bring your rugrat’s giant-assed stroller/pram/whatever with you, TAKE THE ELEVATOR!! That’s what they’re FOR!! (Or of course just check the damned thing and carry little Dribbly Jr. to the gate.)

People on commuter trains that clump in the doorways are another pet peeve of mine. Whether on the train or off it, there are people who need to move through the very crowded space in which you are standing. If you and the other idiots like you would simply move back (either further into the train or back onto the platform), there wouldn’t be a need to worry whether you will be able to get onto or off of the train because PEOPLE WOULDN’T BE STANDING IN YOUR WAY!!!

Corrolary: If the escalator is ten steps away, and you are able to take it, DON’T TIE UP THE DAMNED ELEVATOR! Priority goes to those who cannot safely take the stairs or escalator, such as: people in wheelchairs; people who need crutches, walkers, or canes; people with heart/lung problems; parents or others with kids in strollers; employees with carts or other equipment on wheels; and, in the case of airports, train stations and so on, passengers with a lot of luggage. If there’s room for other people, great! Hop on! But if there’s a line for the elevator, then find another way to get your able-bodied ass upstairs. Everyone, including your esteemed self, will get where they’re going faster if you do.

I love the groups of shoppers that think they must spread out to fill the entire walkway in the mall. These walkways can be ten feet wide,but I still have to duck into a shop to avoid being run over. Of course, its worse if you are behind them, because the move so slowly that they make a sloth look fleet. My favorite is the time I saw a woman in the grocery store stop in the middle of the aisle, lean to the left to look at the shelf, and use her right arm to push her cart to the other side. These people are fucking clots in the arteries of commerce.

I fucking HATE slow people. Okay, I can understand if someone is really old and can’t help it. Same with the handicapped. I try to be patient with them, I really do. It’s the idiots that just shuffle along that get to me. Walk at 120 steps per minute; more if you can. Use your eyes. Keep 'em open. Constantly scan the area around you. Make like a sniper and keep you alertness up. You should cover about six feet per second. Take in your surroundings and adapt accordingly.

Oh, and KEEP YOUR FUCKING BICYCLE OFF THE DAMN SIDEWALK! Sidewalks are for pedestrians. Get your bicycling arse in the road. Oh, you say you can’t keep up with traffic? Get off the damn bike entirely and WALK! Shit!

To parents of young children,

I understand that you’re proud of your sons and daughters when they first learn to do something on their own, and you want to show the whole world just how wonderful your child is. And you know what? I’m sincerely happy for you. Really.

But do you honestly think that the stairway to the platform of a major city train station at rush hour is really the best place for Taro Jr. to be demonstrating his still-rudimentary stair-climbing skills? I don’t know how many times I’ve seen some parent stopped dead in the middle of a sea of commuters, watching with pride as her kid s-l-o-w-l-y climbs up one step at a time. I’m mean, forget about the inconvenience, what about your kid’s safety? Most of the time, it’s so crowded I can’t even see my own feet. If I suddenly have to stop because a 2-year-old just appeared in front of me, I’m going to have a hard time keeping the teeming millions behind from shoving me right on top of your bundle of joy.

Oh yeah, and while you may think it’s real cute to send your toddler through the ticket gate on his own, if he hasn’t learned how to do it already, rush hour is not the time to teach him. The 500 people backed up behind you are not cooing in admiration of your adorable little anklebiter as he stands there holding his ticket with a confused look on his face while you’re telling him “go on, put the ticket in, go ahead, you can do it, go on…” No, they’re wondering if the police will believe their story that “I really tried to wait for them, officer, but the crowd behind me just pushed real hard and… well, next thing I knew, the two of them had been trampled into the linoleum cracks.”

And don’t even get me started on people who stop in the middle of the sidewalk to use their phones…


I, too, find this to be very annoying. But in the case of the NYC subways, some of the blame must be assigned to the subway designers. There are a number of different subway cars in current use. Many of them seem to have been designed to keep people clustered around the entrances/exits. Big mistake. They should be designed to draw people further in, away from the entrances.

But for the (at rush hours, many)standees, the best thing to hold on to is a pole. It’s the only thing to hold on to that isn’t too damn high. Way too damn high. And often, the only poles are very near the entrances. In other cases, there are two kinds of poles. Narrow, easy to grasp poles near the entrances, and wide, hard to grasp poles farther away.

The last stage of child development is the ability to envision oneself in the position of others.

Unfortunately, most do not reach this stage.

Also saw a study of how most people will block a footpath/hallway to converse. No explanation given, just the observation.

The lack of an uzi can best be overcome with a sucidal attitude.

TLD, don’t come to Auckland. Especially Queen Street. It would drive you nuts. It would drive me nuts, 'cept for the fact that I’m already nuts.

Slow elderly people I have no problem with. But when you’ve a lot to do, over a spread o’ area, and time is money – Shit! I hate damn “strollers”, people just traipsing along like they haven’t a care in the damn world, and don’t care who’s trying to get past. AAARRRGGHHH!

When you come to Auckland – drive. Or carry a sharp stick.

That is exactly why I don’t go to malls.

Sheer poetry. I pray that I will forget this phrase before my next trip to the grocery, or there will be a scene of much shouting and calling of security, culminating in the escorting out of Miss Davis.

Malls aren’t that bad because it’s usually easy to weave in and out of the groups of sloths, but I bet you’d all looove it at my school.

We are an extremely overcrowded school. This, obviously, means the hallways are often very crowded between classes, especially near the stairwells.

Does this stop people from stopping, in the middle of the halls, in large groups to talk to their friends? Of course not. And then they give you dirty looks and make nasty comments to you if you actually have the nerve to accidentally brush up against them or even worse, get pushed into them by other ignorant fuckwads who do not seem to understand that I can only move as fast as the people in front of me. I understand that with as much traffic as we have people move slow, but is there REALLY any need to make it worse by sitting and chatting in a huge clump that takes up half the hallway? Or, if you’re at the front of this huge herd of teenagers and have the entire hallway in front of you free, do you think maybe you can speed things up a bit so the people behind you who aren’t busy socializing and holding everyone else up can get to class on time?

Even better are the girls who walk side by side, in a straight line extending from one side of the hall to the other, and take their grand ol time doing it. They, too, look at you like you’re the rudest person on earth if you dare interrupt their meaningful conversations by saying “excuse me”. :rolleyes:

I can’t wait til I’m out of here.

AcidKid, you said, “The last stage of child development is the ability to envision oneself in the position of others. Unfortunately, most do not reach this stage.”

Darn right they don’t. What percentage of the US population do you suppose are real forsure adults?

Well, this isn’t exactly pedestrian… But someone mentioned Cellphones…

When I come to a crosswalk, I have no qualms with waiting half an hour to cross while people speed by in their air conditioned cars while listening to music sitting in comfortable leather seats as I stand in the blistering 98 degree sun on the side of the road. Sure, I’m bitter, but it beats the alternative, which is being run over repeatedly by stupid yuppies in their gas gluggin’ SUVs.

Which is what I’m bitching about now. Just yesterday, as I was making my usual rounds, I came to a crosswalk and pressed the little button. Traffic came to a whole stop shortly after, and I started walking across… And getting that feeling of several motorists staring angrily at you for making their ride to wherever 30 seconds longer.

I’m about to step on the sidewalk when I notice a very large SUV speeding towards me, the gum-chewing driver yakking into her cell-phone, having to assume she’s still on the road because she can’t take her eyes off the newspaper in her right hand. SUV, one hand holding newspaper, neck craned to tuck cell-phone between shoulder and ear, and one hand constantly moving off and on of steering wheel to adjust the phone.

So, anyway, she comes to a stop about 2 millimeters away from my leg. As I jump onto the sidewalk, she opens her window and leans out. Is she about to utter an apology? No. “GET OFF THE ROAD YOU INATTENTIVE JERK!” Oh, well.

The one that really peeves me? When people waiting to enter an elevator, subway, etc. don’t step aside long enough to let people get off.

It isn’t just rude, it’s stupid. Those exiting are trying to get the hell out and make room. Instead of letting them vacate THEN rush in to fill the vaccuum, idiots push right into the bottleneck. It turns into a scrum of opposing forces pushing against each other. The fools would board much faster if they’d practice a little common sense and courtesy.

BIG agreement on those who assume squatters rights slam in the middle of high traffic areas, btw. A few weeks ago I watched in amazement as a clump (i.e. group of clods) set up camp, chatting right in front of the door of a very busy restaurant. Those of us waiting for tables goggled for a good 10 minutes while people trying to leave or enter jostled past The Clump. (“EXCUSE me, please.” “We need to get past, PLEASE”.)

Nothing penetrated their self-absorption until one unwary clod drifted too close to the doors. The heavy door swung inward and slammed him in the ass. It was priceless street theater.
Whoa! Huh? Bluster! Shock! Wha’ the…there’s a DOOR!!

The Clump suddenly got all agitated, the guy who flung open the door looked at them like they were idiots and all the onlookers heroically tried to stifle their guffaws.

It may sound mean but some idocies are too blatant to pity.


I liked that one too.

AND that one. Geez, the poets are coming out to play.

(I don’t suppose I’ll get much sympathy for this, but…) I walk to work on recreational pathways every day, and while I’m the first to agree that Canadians have a huge personal space zone, it bugs me to no end when people passing me from behind pass so close to me that my hand could brush against them as I’m walking. This, while the pathway is completely empty to the left of them. Why are you people so close to me? Don’t you know that the proper personal space distance is at least 4 feet away from me? Why do I glance to the left and get startled because all of a sudden, out of nowhere, there you are, so close that I can almost feel your breath? I don’t need this at 7:00 am, when I am not at my chipper best.

And then, there are the people with toddlers like sublight mentioned. These people let their toddlers and small children wander unhindered all over the recreational paths while bikers and in-line skaters whiz past them, almost creaming themselves and the small children as they try to avoid them. Little children should not be road hazards; it’s no good for anyone involved. Maybe you could pick your little one up until you get to a lower density traffic zone, or keep them in a stroller until they’re old enough to understand traffic patterns, and why everyone needs to stay to the right when they’re walking.

As an Australian, I’m with you on the personal space thing. Once people get in too close, I kinda go to battle stations - this person either wants to hit me or kiss me. I mentioned in my OP that I liked Hong Kong because of the way the people know how to make pedestrian traffic flow like water, but the complete lack of personal space was something I had to make a conscious effort to deal with. Standing in a subway train so crowded that I didn’t need to hold on, and that I had to start making my way to the door one or two stops before mine, was a new experience for me.

I seem to remember a news article about a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). There was a memo sent to attendees shortly before the meeting. It was to provide basic familiarisation of the cultures of the various countries. On the subject of personal space, it basically said, “Stand the heck back from the Australians and Canadians.”

YES! That’s exactly right! Glad to know Canadians aren’t the only freaks on the planet. :smiley: