But strangely enough I naturally walk on the left side of any footpath and move to the left if anyone is coming towards me.
Well, actually, not strangely enough. Because I drive on the left. Actually, not just me. The whole bloody country drives on the left. (Oh dear. All those actuallys and the bloody! I feel a rant coming on.) It makes sense to walk on the side we drive. There’s such thing as physical memory, you know! Your body learns things so you don’t have to be consciously aware or think every time you do them. Like tying shoe laces and driving on the correct side of the road. And we know how wrong it feels at first to drive on the other side in those countries that choose not to do it the right way.
In busy pedestrian thoroughfares, in Australia, people will group to the left. On escalators, people pass on the right and slow people keep to the left. On stairs and in walkways at school, kids are often told to keep to the left.
It all makes sense, doesn’t it? Safety, politeness, consideration for others, ease and flow of pedestrian traffic!
(Of course there will always be the minority. Tourists from right hand side drive countries, with whom you do a little dance as you both move to the same side. And the just plan rude or ignorant.)
So what’s this got to do with London?
Well, they are obviously confused.
In London it is each to his own. Walk where you wish. The forceful, and those with determined looks in their faces, don’t yield to anyone.
But it gets worse. They drive on the left, right? (Actually, seeing how they drive in the narrow streets of London that’s debatable too, but for arguments sake we’ll accept that they are a left-hand drive country.)
So why don’t the authorities bloody well encourage walking on the left?
Travelling on the Underground, you will find signs telling you to keep to the left and to keep to the right. Through London, this inconsistency abounds. In a city with so many people, you think there’d be a more considered approach.
Some stairs say left. Some stairs say right. Some walkways say left. Yeah, you get the point. I wish I took the photo of the keep left on the Tube stairs to prove my point that within one organisation, there is inconsistency.
The inconsistency leads to people bumping into one another, to frustration, to social conflict. And bloody well pissed me off.
Maybe it’s to do with joining the EU? (Here’s a free argument for the Daily Mail or the UKIndependence Party.)
Or maybe they’re just dumb. But here’s a tip: if you drive in the left and overtake on the right, do the same on foot. It just makes sense. You know it does!
And if you think this is a silly thing to be annoyed about, let alone even notice, then you’re probably one of the people than wander all over the footpath as if you own it, oblivious to others, causing all sorts of pedestrian traffic mayhem. Order, I say. Structure. (Did I tell you I’m half German?)