Do British People Walk on The Right?

Just wondering-they drive on the LHS-do they extend this to walking?
In London, should you walk on the RHS or LHS?

Do you mean in the street? So far as I am aware there are no rules or laws about this, in Britain or any other country that I know of. Are there where you are? If you bump into someone while walking you are unlikely to kill or injure them, so it really is not as pressing an issue as it is with cars.

I’m not sure about Britain, but when I moved to New Zealand (where they also drive on the left) I found I was constantly bucking the flow of pedestrians on sidewalks because as an American I walked on the right. After awhile I adjusted and began walking on the left like everyone else.

In New York (where I’m from), people habitually walk on the right on sidewalks. If you try to walk on the left side of the sidewalk you will continually be dodging people. It’s not a law, but it certainly is an unwritten convention.

Pedestrians on Fifth Avenue

Around Asia, people lean to the right on escalators to let the impatient ones move ahead.

I had exactly the same experience, and furthermore remember escalators being “left handed” as well.

Here in the UK we have vicious gangs of “keep left” signs, but whether these exist to fight our natural instinct to keep on the right, or instead exist to reinforce our tendency to walk on the left, I know not.

On a caveman level it makes sense to pass someone on the left, because you can swipe at them with your right hand if they attack you.

My natural instinct is to walk on the outside, and use my judgement based on the prevailing traffic flow.

On escalators on the tube stand to the right, overtake (by walking) on the left.

Otherwise walk however you like, there’s absolutely no rules at all, spoken or unspoken.

You stand on the right if you are on the escalator, and walk on the left of it, if you wish to walk.

As an American, when I lived in London I found that the stand right/walk left rule applied on the escalator. On the sidewalk, I never found there was any custom at all.

i’v mentioned before that I was in London for about 24 hours, and was constantly screwing up the people walking in the hallway of the building I was in because I was wanting to walk on the wrong side of the hallway.

Yes, people in UK walk on the other side of the hallway.

My favorite snark for when people are walking on the wrong side of a hall or sidewalk is “What side of the road do you drive on?”. I gotta assume it’s pretty much universal courtesy. Drive on the right, walk on the right. Drive on the left, walk on the left.

Gah, I wish they would pick a direction. I was just in Glasgow and London; I naturally assumed that I would have to adjust my walking habits to match their driving , and consciously did so. Glasgow was a little better, but in both places the walking direction was completely random. I thought maybe that there might be enough clueless tourists in the touristy places I visited to throw off the pedestrian traffic flow, but even clearly English blokes were coming right at me as I kept to the left.

I’m pretty sure there was a relatively recent thread on this subject, but my lazy searching only found this one from 2006, which refers to two earlier threads:

No, you just happen to have have seen a traffic pattern that had established itself that way on that particular occasion in that location. On another day it might well have been the other way.

I agree with Confused dart cum. Apart from on escalators, there are no rules, written or unwritten. However, in crowded situations, and where people are being reasonably polite and considerate to one another, traffic patterns will spontaneously and temporarily form.

Maybe Americans need such rules, or else the shooting will start, or something. We Brits (and, I expect New Zealanders) don’t.

Our last thread on this topic, back in March. The thread before that, from Dec. 2011.
Peter Kincaid addresses this in his book The Rule of the Road: An International Guide to History and Practice. Greenwood Press, 1986. ISBN 0-313-25249-1, LC 86-354. From p. 37:

“in places where no rule is enforced there seems to be a natural tendency for pedestrians to keep to the right, whichever rule is observed by road traffic… . Whether or not this practice results from a natural tendency of a right-handed person to turn to the right, I cannot say. This practice was until recently recognized as a rule in England.”

From two weeks in London, I observed people walking like anyone else down a city sidewalk: generally yammering on the phone or slowly and four abreast with their friends, guarding their hexes against all comers in the fear that someone might try to break their line of defense. :smiley:

(People tended toward the left but walked any old where, really. It was looking to the left for traffic that kept throwing me.)

Except in Osaka, where several people I’ve met are, for some reason, damn PROUD that they stand of the left there.

As I said above, based on my personal observation during a three year residence including Wellington and Auckland, New Zealanders walk on the left.

I believe that Panamanians also tend to walk on the right (the same way they drive). However, the streets are rarely that crowded that clear traffic flow is discernible, and at any rate the streets themselves are pretty irregular.

Britain does seem to be rather odd in apparently not having a consistent pattern (although sometimes people say there is a tendency to walk on the left).

When walking along country lanes, you should “face oncoming traffic”, which means walking on the right. When walking anywhere with a pavement (sidewalk) there is no convention. However, there are a few busy places where people are encouraged by signs to walk on a particular side, such as the tube system.