Follow sidewalk etiquette, please

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

The sidewalk is a beautiful invention. It creates a path for people to walk, alongside the street and it’s specifically designated for pedestrians. And while you’re not driving a car on the sidewalk, there are still unspoken rules that you should follow when using a sidewalk to ensure your safety and keep others safe too.

When using that beloved white pavement, be sure to use it as a road. If you’re out for a walk or a leisurely stroll, stay on the right side of the sidewalk or the “slow lane” so you stay out of the way of others that are out for a run or a bike ride. It also ensures that you stay out of the way of those coming toward you.

If you are trying to pass someone on the right side of the sidewalk, make the pass. Don’t sit there behind them riding their heels hoping that they’ll move out of your way. Make the pass if it’s available.

The best way to solve this problem is to pretend there’s a broken yellow line on the sidewalk. Stay on your side when moving to avoid contact with oncoming traffic and if you’re behind slow traffic, just make the pass.

Another good use of sidewalk etiquette is to be aware of your surroundings. If you can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, it’s probably not a good idea to be texting and walking. According to Reader’s Digest, texting and walking has caused over 11,000 injuries in over a decade’s time. Therefore, it’s probably not the best idea to multitask while you’re walking on the sidewalk because then you can become someone else’s problem.

If there’s a bike behind you or someone is coming towards you, you could not be paying attention and veer towards the left side of the sidewalk. You then become the responsibility of the person coming towards you because they don’t want to hit you, and they want to keep you safe. Don’t become someone else’s responsibility and be aware of your surroundings.

As far as bikes and golf carts, neither should really be on the sidewalk. But, if either must take up space on the sidewalk, they should announce their presence to pedestrians. If you’re a biker coming up on a slow walker, let them know you’re coming up on their left so they can move out of the way. The same goes for golf carts. Let others know of your presence so they can adjust accordingly.

Finally, if there is a group of people taking up the whole sidewalk, be courteous of those coming towards you. If you have a group of people, and there is a biker or there is a runner coming towards you, make room for them on the sidewalk. Don’t inconvenience them and make them have to run on the grass because you and your group didn’t want to move out of the way.

Use these rules and your next sidewalk excursion will be more beneficial to you and those around you on the sidewalk.