The pedestrians’ school of defensive (and hopefully enjoyable) walking

Walking is good for you and can contribute to health and sociability. Walking can also be dangerous, particularly in the United States where life is optimized for those in cars and trucks. Given this context plus my own experiences walking, here are my rules for the pedestrian:

Photo by Uriel Mont on

-Always be aware of your surroundings. Do not walk distracted to the point where you do not know what is going on.

-Take in and enjoy what is going on around you involving people, buildings, nature, and more.

-Keep at the speed of other pedestrians around you. There are times to go slower (strolling areas, tourist areas) and times to go faster (going with rush hour traffic to the train station). Know the purpose of your walk and act accordingly.

-Do not stop suddenly in the middle of walking.

-Do not block the middle of a walking path.

-Anticipate the actions of others, particularly vehicles.

-Be clear and decisive in your movements. Do not make others guess at your intentions as a pedestrians.

-Make eye contact with drivers.

-If walking in a space shared with vehicles, walk against traffic and stay to the side.

In roughly two hundred years, humans have gone from primarily walking to traveling much faster speeds on a regular basis. Let us not completely lose our walking skills and enjoyment.

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