What is it about walking on public streets when you’re in a hurry? Everyone is in your way, slower and walks into you on purpose. This has become a huge pet peeve of mine since my London commute began. In the mornings I walk about 2 miles through central London. Although it is before 830 am, there still seem to be aimless tourists about which totally negates my first theory as to foot traffic patterns.
In the US I always got the feeling that people walked to the right side of the side walk. It seemed an unspoken rule that you stand to the right on escalators if you weren’t going to walk, you walk slower on the right side of the side walk, you drive on the right side of the road, etc. The left lane is always the fast lane on highways. I assume this is because of the direction we drive on roads in most countries – the steering wheel is on the left side of the car and we drive on the right side of the road. Since this is more common practice than not, I wonder if the aimless, undirected foot traffic in London is due to this confusion. The Londoners want to walk on the left, the foreigners are used to the right, then mix in some lost tourists and people only looking at their phones, and you have one hell of a mess. Although on escalators you still stand to the right, walk on the left. There really is no rhyme or reason!