A Few Thoughts on Sidewalk Courtesy

Jeff Swensen / Getty Image

Dear Pedestrians,

After countless times of being shanked by the metal chains lining the sidewalks thanks to groups not moving over, after countless times of being late to class because it was impossible to pass the texter walking aimlessly ahead, and after, dare I say it, countless indecisive, awkward passing issues, there has been enough sidewalk crime. It’s time to take action and end terrible walking habits plaguing Penn State.

First off, this is America. We drive on the right side of the road, we bike on the right side of the road, AND we walk on the right side of the road. Same thing goes for sidewalks. It’s not rocket science. It’s sidewalk science.

There is NEVER a good time to stop and talk or give hugs in the middle of the sidewalk. I know you are super excited to see your friend that you haven’t seen in two hours, but please just move to the side.

When you run into a situation that looks like it could become an awkward passing issue, stay cool and confident. Don’t psych yourself out. Just keep going in one direction and the other person will get the memo. Manifest destiny in footsteps.

If you are a slower walker (yes, texters, I’m talking to you), sidewalk courtesy mandates that you should walk to the far right side so that faster pedestrians can pass you on the left… just like driving!

For groups of three or more, just because you have a posse doesn’t mean that you can take up the entire sidewalk. Correct formation for groups of three would be two in front and one trailing awkwardly behind in between the front two. Groups of four means walk with a partner. Groups of five or more, just try and stay to your side of the sidewalk. Lion Ambassadors get a pass here.

If someone is holding the door open for you, walk faster and don’t make that person wait. Feminism aside, the gesture was genuine.

At all times, even if you have headphones in and are mellowing out to Drake, be aware of your surroundings. You never know when that runner is going to bump you into a now angry Penn State squirrel. Wouldn’t want the squirrel whisperer to come after you!

Runners and cyclists, you just work that weave. Nothing else to it.

Cars, at every intersection, pedestrians have the right of way 100 percent of the time, especially when it is below 40 degrees, raining, snowing, or sleeting. It could be the most perfectly beautiful day out. Doesn’t matter. Pedestrians are on two feet facing the elements in State College and drivers are sitting and blasting some form of terrible rap music. Pedestrians>Drivers.

Sidewalk therapy has ended. No matter what kind of sidewalker you are, you may all walk in peace to love and serve the sidewalks.

Sincerely yours,


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About the Author

Megan Swiatkowski

I'm a South Jersey girl with a passion for news!

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