Imagine this: You’re walking to work and then some tourists walk right in front of you and start taking pictures. Or some oblivious idiot on their iPhone won’t move out of the way of the Subway entrance. Sounds annoying, right? You don’t need to be driving a car to experience road rage during your morning commute. That’s right, Sidewalk Rage is real, and on the rise.
For many mass transit commuters, nothing is more infuriating than slow walkers who inadvertently clog up everything from stairs and sidewalks to Subway platforms. And for every slow walker, there’s a frustrated speed walker right behind them. Aggressive speed walkers can express their frustration in different forms and intensity levels – ranging from a dirty look to a physical confrontation. There’s even a Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome Scale (PASS) to help categorize how people express their sidewalk rage.
“I’ve been glared at, and pushed,” Walt Ribeiro said. Ribeiro is a MethodShop contributor and a former Midtown Manhattan resident. “People have screamed at me before for almost no reason.”
Do You Have Sidewalk Rage?
To help measure Sidewalk Rage, a “Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome Scale” was developed by a University of Hawaii researcher. If any of the following traits apply to you or someone you know, then it might be time to address your sidewalk rage.
- Walking by a slower moving pedestrian and cutting back too soon (feels hostile or rude)
- Not apologizing when expected (after bumping by accident or coming very close in attempting to pass)
- Acting in a hostile manner (staring, presenting a mean face, moving faster or closer than expected)
- Not yielding when it’s the polite thing to do
How To Calm Your Sidewalk Rage
But Sidewalk Ragers don’t lose all hope just yet. Here are some easy ways to help calm your Sidewalk Rage.
Sorry, but the sidewalks aren’t getting any less crowded. As the global population continues to grow, sidewalks around the world will only get more crowded. It’s a battle that you will never win.
Take New York City, for example. According to the NYC Department of City Planning, New York City has the highest population density in the United States. The Big Apple has a population of over 29k people per square mile.
Want to talk about your sidewalk rage? You’re not alone. There’s a Facebook group called “I Secretly Want to Punch Slow Walking People in the Back of the Head” with over 21,000 members. Join the group and virtually vent your anger there.
Follow People Wearing Headphones
A study by the City of New York and the NYC Department of City Planning timed the average walking speeds for a variety of people in New York City.
- AVERAGE: The average New Yorker walks a speedy 4.27 feet per second.
- SMOKERS: Smokers walk 2.3% slower than the average.
- TOURISTS: Creeping along at 11% slower than the average walker, tourists are the slowest segment from the study.
- TALKERS: People walking and talking, or texting and walking, while on their cellphone walk 1.6% slower than average.
- HEADPHONES: Walking a brisk 9% faster than the average person, headphone wearers are by far the fastest walking segment from the study.
So if you want to get somewhere fast, follow someone wearing headphones. Let them cut the path. Or get some good headphones and try getting into the ‘headphone speed zone’ yourself. Just don’t turn up your headphones too much. Speed walking without the ability to hear traffic or emergency vehicles traveling at high speeds can be very dangerous.
Here are some of our favorite headphones and earbuds that we’ve reviewed here on MethodShop:
- The Shure E3C Sound Isolating Earbuds Are Totally Badass
- JVC HA-NC250 Noise Canceling Headphones
- AHP712i Noise-Canceling Headphones
- Pump Up The Bass with Skullcandy’s Skullcrushers Headphones
- Bose TriPort IE (In-Ear) Ear Buds
Spend Some Time in Another City
Spending some time away from cities with the fastest walkers like Boston or New York City will help put things in perspective. MethodShop reader, Shaliza Kassam, used to be an aggressive walker in NYC until she moved back to Chicago.
“I used to think people walked fast in Chicago until I moved to New York City. The sidewalk is a highway. You’re basically forced to walk fast just to keep up and out of the way of everyone else. Otherwise, you need to pull over. When people would just stop in front of you, it was very frustrating,” Shaliza commented. “I’ve since moved back to Chicago. It took a few weeks, but I’ve resumed a normal walking speed… to the relief of my friends and family here.”
Try Walking In The Street (Carefully!)
Depending on the street, you might be able to walk the thin strip of the sidewalk between the streetlights and the curb. And there’s always the edge of the street by the curb, especially if no cars are packed on the street.
Silly as it sounds, this method is the only way to successfully navigate crowded places like Times Square with speed.
Is Sidewalk Rage A Major Issue For You?
It’s never a good idea to get into a physical confrontation, especially on the street. You never know who you might be getting into a fight with and what weapons they might have on them. Is it really worth trading your health or life for sidewalk speed?
Do you suffer from sidewalk rage? How do you calm your anger? Please tell us and post a comment below.
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.