Imagine this: You’re walking to work and then some tourists walk right in front of you and snap a picture. Or some oblivious idiot on their iPhone won’t move out of the way of the Subway entrance. 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.
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. According to the NYC Department of City Planning, New York City has the highest population density in the United States with over 27k people per square mile. Sidewalks will only get more crowded. It’s a battle that you will never win.
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 2006 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 11% slower than the average, tourists are the slowest segment from the study.
- TALKERS: People walking and talking, or texting, while on their cellphone walk 1.6% slower than average.
- HEADPHONES: Walking a brisk 9% faster than average, headphone wearers are by far the fastest 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:
- 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. 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,” Shaliza commented.
Try The Street
Depending on the street, you might be able to walk the thin strip of the sidewalk between the street lights and 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 places like Times Square with speed. Just look out for oncoming traffic.
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.
Times Square photo via jms2