I have walked for exercise in my home community of Ladner for many years. I’ve walked on my own and with a walking partner. It wasn’t until this pandemic hit that I came to realize that many of us now had to dig deep in our memories to pull out the etiquette needed to navigate this new normal.
One of the major problems in my community when it comes to walking is that there are many streets, some of them very busy thoroughfares, with only one side with a sidewalk. That means all walkers crowd onto the same one metre swatch of concrete. The biggest problem occurs when two walkers approach each other from opposite directions.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the many people I have encountered during my solitary walks since the start of the physical distancing requirements. Travelling etiquette would posit that the walker who is facing the traffic should, when safe, step into the street if there is no room on the sidewalk, until their fellow walker has passed by. It has been my experience that most, but not all, walkers have recalled this safe procedure during this time of physical distancing.
Another issue occurs when two walkers are moving in the same direction but at different speeds. When I am the faster walker and it is possible, I move from one sidewalk to the other in order to pass the other walker. When there is only one sidewalk, it can be more complex and etiquette needs to be employed.
Again, I truly appreciate the walkers who notice as I move into the road (shoulder checking if traffic comes from behind) and they slow their pace or stop. That provides the fast walker with a shorter time spent on the road. I try to do this for faster walkers I encounter and give them a thumbs up, too.
We are lucky to live in such a friendly community where people are putting thought into their routines as we apply physical distancing to our daily lives.