Submitted by Ken Witkoe.
My wife and I are avid walkers – have been for decades. Our neighborhood is generally pretty quiet, and we can walk in areas that include trees and mild hiking paths to relatively busy neighborhood thoroughfares. Virtually no sidewalks exist where we walk, so we are creative to stay out of the way of traffic and have come accustom giving room to motorists as they return the favor.
There are many evenings that we walk and may encounter very few people. This pandemic (COVID19) has changed that. As we venture out now, we have seen some interesting things and greeted neighbors we have never seen before (the latter being rather sad, actually). In short, there are a lot more people out walking now (especially when the sun is high and bright) than we have ever experience before – at least in our neck of the woods. More walkers mean more people out some getting exercise – both mentally and physically.
Obviously, this is a positive. However, aside from getting more exercise and fending off bouts of cabin fever, there is another issue that may need to be addressed – especially during the social-distancing guidelines all of us are encouraged to maintain. This may seem petty – even meddling – to some, but I feel there are some walking/biking etiquette that needs revisiting. So, please bear with me. As I said before, in my neighborhood there are virtually no sidewalks. The general rules of the road are as such: pedestrians walking/jogging are supposed to walk on the side of the road facing traffic. Bike riders should ride with the traffic. Bike riders and walkers/joggers will predictively meet on the same side of the road, while walkers and joggers shouldn’t.
Petty or not, in the times we live, we may do well to adhere to correct walking etiquette. If we all do this, it will help eliminate unnecessary “contact”.
And, by the way, Boston is fining citizens for walking on the “wrong” side even on a sidewalk.