News stories have cropped up in the last few weeks about a university in the United States that has painted bright green lanes on the footpath for runners, walkers, and people texting. The university said that the lanes were a lighthearted way to brighten up the campus and get students’ attention. Similar lanes have also been painted on some footpaths in China, but not for fun – they were painted because texters kept colliding with non-texters!
While this is all a bit amusing, if any shopping malls in Australia or other busy thoroughfares would like to take note and implement a similar concept I would be 100 per cent supportive. My gripe isn’t entirely with texters though, it’s also with slow walkers and groups of people that walk side-by-side across a walkway.
I’ll never forget being at a shopping mall as a kid and seeing two people pick up a blanket outside a homewares store and open it up to see the pattern – one person holding one end outside the store, and one on the other end across the walkway, blocking all traffic. It was like a human pile up. Funny to look back on, but at the time people were furious – especially the ones that smacked into the back of someone else.
While the example above is pretty extreme and quite rare, people blocking the walkway is hugely frustrating. I walk pretty quickly and if people are walking side-by-side there’s often no room to pass. The second there’s a gap you have to dart around them and then they get cranky about being ‘pushed in front of’.
While I know most people reading this will tell me to be more patient, if I’m walking from one end of the Canberra Centre to the other and can’t get past slow walkers, it’s going to hold me up a fair bit. While I could be more patient, other people could be more considerate too.
I understand that some people can’t help being slow due to age/injury/disability, and that’s fine, just don’t walk side-by-side if there’s five of you. Maybe we should invest in some pedestrian bells?
During Christmas trading, why not take things a step further and implement lanes for trolleys and prams? I can’t be the only one who has been ankle tapped by an overloaded trolley not within the control of the pusher. I’m actually surprised there’s not more trolley collisions on a regular day in supermarkets. The way some people come flying out of aisles with trolleys is a bit dangerous.
The way I think about it is; would I come flying into an intersection without looking both ways if I was in a car? Of course not, so why wouldn’t I check before coming out of a supermarket aisle. Same rule applies for exiting a store. I will exclusively shop at any supermarket that implements a trolley licence.
No matter what your views on this, I think we can all agree that fines should be issued to people who stand side by side on an escalator and refuse to let people pass – lock them up and throw away the key, I say!