Public Interest Courtesy Rule #4

SignUnlike roads, other public spaces such as walkways, footpaths and shopping centre malls do not have clearly delineated lanes to provide for the organised two-way flow of human traffic. However it is always important to remember that regardless of your own direction of travel, other people may in fact need to travel somewhere completely different.

It can be surprising to think that other people may have different travel requirements to your own, but it is simply something that must be accepted. Aside from people moving in the opposite direction to you, you will also encounter people wishing to move diagonally and even perpendicularly to your own line of travel. This is nothing to be alarmed by.

Please refer to the following guidelines which will assist you to master the perilous world of pedestrian travel:

  1. Ensure you do not walk in the middle of a walking area, as it can make it difficult for other pedestrians to have enough space to walk around you.
  2. Always be mindful of others walking needs and do not arrogantly or defensively assume that you have the right to commandeer the entire walk space.
  3. Never walk three abreast unless your specific circumstances require it, for example if you are patrolling as a member of the defence or police force, or if you are performing in a marching band. The maximum acceptable side-by-side people limit is two and even then this must be adjusted depending on the specific circumstances. At all times two way flow of traffic should be possible, so you may have to drop down to one person wide for a while to allow for the passage of other people.
  4. pedestrians.jpgPeople walk at different speeds, and sometimes you may be in the slow lane. Always ensure sufficient overtaking space for people who want to get to where they’re going a little quicker than you. Be sure to take into account space taken up by such things as shopfronts, market stalls, seats, posts, light poles.
  5. It is not appropriate to use your trolley, shopping bag, umbrella, backpack or other appendages to slow human traffic or take up too much space in a ‘lane’.
  6. One further guideline regarding walking speed. At times you may find yourself in the fast lane walking too slowly. You will notice that the flow of human traffic behind you is being impeded. Similar to driving on the motorway, please move back into the slow lane unless you are overtaking.

There should be no need to resort to elbowing people in the ribs, jostling or shoving. All that is required is to make sufficient space allowances for multi-directional pedestrian flow.


  1. The Artist

    Thoughtful suggestions for crowded places. Need such guideline as our world speeds up, best wishes, The Artist

  2. Tracey

    Thanks ‘The Artist’ – we all need our space…especially with the busy Christmas shopping time approaching.

  3. Lloyd BRADBURY

    You should stert a pedestrian protection league.
    being blind my problemsare not people so much but machines which want to share the sidewalk with me.but then again i could tell you many stories of helful people that are just as dangerious.
    i live at 47th qnd western in chicaGO. THERE IS AWECK ALMOST EVERY DAY or at the entrance of home depo,cheapo depo/
    rules are nice but these humans are under the inflence of thesicknesses of our society
    now let the artist cheer you up after my disertation

  4. Lloyd BRADBURY

    PEDESTRIAN PROTECTION LEAGUE OR PPL would consist of those who could doge,runand hide fro machhine driven humans that obey the price if gas. OH I forgot bucks and push caret that block the sidewaks,Oh yes the babby machines with strollers andsix kid scouts runing ahead of them!!

  5. Tracey

    Hi Lloyd – Mmm, good points indeed. Dealing with people themselves can be challenging enough, but then once you throw in other things like cars / strollers / trolleys / motorised scooters, things get just that little bit harder.

  6. One Guy

    Good points, all. I’m not a big fan of hard and fast rules, but as guidelines to courtesy, these are great. I would even add one: When stopping — be it to answer your cell phone, look in a shop window or contemplate the vast number of people on this planet — first make yourself aware of who is walking immediately behind you at the same pace, unless you want to be rear-ended.

  7. Tracey

    Hi One Guy, Thanks for your comments. Definitely some good points about people that stop abruptly. These rules are all really just a bit of fun – no seriousness intended! 😉

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