To solve this problem, I’ve developed a simple set of rules for pedestrians to abide by when we make our way along the urban tributaries.
Walk On The Left
For fucks sake, walk on the left! This is not always necessary or possible but use your common sense. If we all walk on the left we will all get to where we want to go much faster. Even the most base apes know how to co-operate. This rule becomes even more important if you are locomoting with a group or with children.
Look Where You Are Going
We are all distracted from time to time by some fetching item in a shop window or a filthy bum sprawled out on the concrete. But it is possible to have a look and still maintain some awareness about where you are going. You are simply not going to get away with diverting your visual attention from your path for an unbroken ten seconds without bumping into someone, so don’t do it.
Also: Don’t text. Don’t read a book.
Give Way When Cutting Across Pedestrian Traffic
Every footpath or walkway has two main directions for flow of traffic, unless it is a neutral area such as a square. Always be aware of the main directions of the footpath you are walking on, even if it is not busy. If you are walking along a main direction of traffic (either up or down) then you have the right of way. If you are cutting across the main directions then acknowledge this fact and give way to others.
Give Way When Exiting Shops, Restaurants etc
There is little that shits me off more than some blockhead sauntering obliviously out of a premises, talking loudly to his stupid friends or shit family, and straight into oncoming pedestrian traffic with no care or acknowledgement of the right of way of others. It is not acceptable on the roads so neither should it be on the footpath.
Allow People To Alight Before Boarding
This rule is so important. Allow people to alight before boarding trains, elevators and other confined areas. Like most common courtesies and customs there is a logical premise behind this rule: If you let people get out of the confined area there will be more room for you to enter.
Stand To One Side On The Escalator
I am a reasonably well-travelled person and from my personal observation Australia seems to be the only nation where people do not stand to one side on escalators in an orderly fashion. Because you are too lazy to ambulate your fat pale legs up the escalator does not mean that others are not. Whether you stand to the left or to the right is immaterial, as long as you stand to one side, and follow the convention of others on the same escalator. Again, this rule is all the more important when in groups or with children.
If you have a shopping trolley or pram on a travelator, that fact does not excuse you from this rule. Park your bundle of joy to one side of the travelator so others can get by and we don’t have to stand behind you all the way, burning holes in your track-suit-panted arse with our hateful gaze.
Don’t Have A Conversation In A Busy Doorway Or At The End Of An Escalator
It amazes me the number of times I see this happen. I’ve even seen a family with suitcases stop in the main entrance to Westfield while they discuss the mysteries of particle physics. This rule really needs no explanation and such conduct should be characterised as a criminal offence for its level of recklessness, something akin to drink-driving. If you witness this occurring you may perform a citizen’s arrest.
Don’t Be Afraid To Apologise
Should you misstep or otherwise forget yourself, please don’t also forget your manners. An apology will not hurt you. And you will likely find that when you apologise, the recipient will respond positively and in turn this will make you feel good. As George Costanza famously said, “You know, we’re living in a society!”
Don’t Have More Than Two Children
Whilst this has the least application to our day to day locomotion, in some ways it is the most important rule of them all. If we all abide by this rule then we can at the least, maintain the status quo of total pedestrian traffic. You might love your children but to everyone else they are a drain on the economy, our resources, infrastructure and space. Always remember that every child grows up to become a full-sized human that demands autonomy on the footpaths of our planet and, aghast, the right to have their own children and wield a pram too. Don’t be selfish: Keep it at two.