August 25, 2019

Pedestrian Etiquette

Pedestrian Etiquette

By Janet Adetu

Very rarely do we walk long distances to get from one place to another, we are used to jumping into the nearest vehicle as it always seems that everyone is in a hurry. Several years ago a major event that attracted thousands of people caused an unpredicted traffic jam that turned out to be a complete standstill with hardly any movement at all. The result was that many people had to reluctantly get down from their vehicles to walk being a very rare sight.



Depending on where you are and where you are going at times the streets are so light with barely anybody in sight most times quiet residential neighborhoods. On the other hand, during street carnivals, health walks and crowded business or shopping districts you will witness a sea of heads everyone struggling to get by the other pedestrian. How much courtesy on the streets do we see as many seem to be obstructing other road users to so rude that you wonder if they were deliberately looking for someone to fight with.

These are many reasons why pedestrian courtesy should be looked into and adhered to when using the sidewalks and pedestrian pathways. People have different speeds of walking; everyone is chasing one mission or the other; some are unconscious of safety measures, while others are simply enjoying the breath of fresh air walking for leisure.

How often are you aware of what goes on around you when you are walking? Are you conscious of the people you are walking with? For many reasons whether for security, health or leisure it is important to practice pedestrian courtesy which is really overlooked by many.

Here I have a few tips on pedestrian Etiquette that are good practice each time you find yourself walking in any environment.



Sometimes you may not realize how you walk until someone tells you. It has already become quite a habit you have gradually grown up into and quite used to. Many times you may walk with a little swag without knowing. The most common is the swinging of arms and at times including the bag. Whether you swing your arms foreword or sideways, it can be very inconvenient for other road users. Soldier like walking also makes you appear as if you are in a hurry. To avoid accidently knocking other road users, watch your pace and speed; at all times keeping your personal belongings closer.


We all like to multitask given the opportunity even while walking. Too many times we see people walking while texting on their mobile phone, in the same light with new technology your mobile phone is used to locate an address which keeps your eyes glued to the phone, how dangerous this is as you are totally unprepared for obstacles that may be in front of you. To avoid any form of hazard today it is more important to keep your eyes on the ball while walking. Negligence is no excuse while walking on the road. It is easier to stop and take a simple break while concentrating on what is handheld. Ensure your face is always up rather than down to avoid likely accidents due to the distraction.


Many times, when walking into a large crowd coming from the opposite direction or going up or down a flight of stairs it is so easy to walk right into another person. The ideal road courtesy when walking is to keep to a certain direction that is to “keep left”.  if everybody could keep to one side when walking in opposite directions this will aid a free flow of traffic and avoid chaotic scenarios. Rather than switch from one lane to lane, walk in synergy with your goal towards your destination, stay connected with your lane and follow suit.


Walking allows you to do many things sometimes at the detriment of others. Eating snacks, fruit or even proper food leaves room for littering, as we see that most wastes and rubbish on the floor are deliberately dropped by a pedestrian


Safety is crucial to all pedestrians but many times is taken for granted. Today there is a great need to be really conversant of your immediate environs at least while walking notice things that look abnormal, notice people walking in front, besides, and behind you. Be extra vigilant at all times and try not to let your guard down. In the same light as you walk notice what is on your path way that could be suspicious, and report anything that you are uncomfortable with. In keeping safe be mindful of yourself keep your ears open, be mindful of the music you are listening to while walking and avoid unnecessary distractions while walking.

Final Tips for Pedestrians in a Crowded Environment 

While walking

  • Walk straight without stopping impromptu.
  • Avoid stepping and walking into others, watch the pathway
  • Keep your eyes, and ears pierced to the ground
  • Don’t stop in the middle of the pathway to have a chat, come off onto the sides.
  • Walking with a woman, the woman should stay on the inner side of the walk way, the gentleman stays close to the curb.
  • No sluggish walking, walk sharply at all times.
  • Walking with pets requires complete responsibility for your pets and their action.
  • Be cautious, be careful, and be considerate while walking.