Rules of the Pavement During Social Distancing

I am a committed pedestrian.  I don’t like cycling; I don’t like driving; my preferred mode of transport is walking.  So, it is good to see that the government is permitting people to take a walk as their daily form of exercise during the Coronavirus crisis.  However, social distancing is making walking problematic.

The problem is other people.  It is just so bloody hard to avoid them.  Particularly hard to keep six feet away from them in a populated residential space.  And the problem is exacerbated because there are no rules.

Whenever I set foot outside of my front door, I am finding that I am having to negotiate a slalom course along the pavement to maintain a strict six feet between myself and a tide of erratically-moving pedestrian traffic.  I cross to the other side of the road to avoid someone, only for a new person to bob up and present an obstruction there.  I have not ducked and swerved so often as the last time I walked down Tottenham Court Road trying to avoid chuggers.

Perhaps, in this time of emergency, there should be a rule for the pavement, in the same way that there are rules for the road?

My suggestion is to keep it simple.  In the UK (and other countries that drive on the left side of the road) I would suggest that pedestrians should walk on the right side of the pavement, so that they are facing the oncoming traffic.  The reverse would apply in those countries that drive on the right.

Slow-moving pedestrians should walk closest to the inside of the pavement to allow fast-moving pedestrians to be able to overtake them on the kerb side of the pavement.


© Simon Turner-Tree


Simon Turner-Tree enjoys a regular constitutional.

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