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Sidewalk etiquette

Emma Russ | Sunday, December 4, 2011

Notre Dame students may be some of the most intelligent kids in America, but frankly, they could use a lesson in sidewalk etiquette. So I have decided to take it upon myself to educate the populace.

First, we have the issue of bikers. The sidewalk is made for pedestrians. If you’re going to ride your bike at a million miles an hour, enter a bike race. Otherwise, ride at a reasonable pace or get off the sidewalk.

I for one have had too many close calls with bikers and have been the victim of a crash which left me bruised and scraped.

Secondly, people here have a tendency to travel in packs, taking up way too much space on the sidewalk and refusing to make room for people walking in the other direction. Freshmen, you know who you are. If you have ever encountered one of these packs, then you have probably been forced into the grass so you did not get trampled.

Then, you ended up stepping in a huge puddle. Come on, people — just make an effort to move over.

Next, we have the issue of sidewalk PDA. Holding hands on the way to class is completely unnecessary, but if you must, at least separate when necessary to make room for other walkers. To all those Notre Dame couples, you can stand to be apart for two seconds in your life. Trust me, you will survive.

On another note, be friendly. Have you ever run into “that one guy” that you met at some party last year? You talked for an entire hour, and you totally recognize him and are about to say “Hi,” when you see him look away and pretend he doesn’t recognize you.

Don’t be that guy. Just say hello, or at least give a friendly smile. Everyone loves a smile on the way to class.

But can you ever be too friendly? Everyone has experienced that awkward moment when you see someone you know from far away, and they see you too because they are walking straight towards you, but you can’t say “Hi” yet because you would be yelling down the sidewalk.

So you either awkwardly look away and pretend to be really interested in a squirrel or else whip out your phone and pretend to be texting. I don’t have any suggestions for this situation. It’s just awkward.

Then we have the hands-free phone talkers — so confusing. Not only do you look like a crazy person talking to yourself, you might also trick other walkers into thinking you are talking to them. I know I am not the only one to have mistakenly started a conversation with a hands-free phone talker only to discover I am actually having a conversation with no one but myself.

Finally, sidewalks follow the rules of general streets. If you have ever driven a car or been a passenger in any type of moving vehicle, you will have noted that people drive on the right side of the road. In turn, you should walk on the right side of the sidewalk in order to avoid collision. This isn’t England. Save it for study abroad.

To conclude this little lesson in sidewalk etiquette, I would like to advise everyone to follow these simple rules. If every student did, Notre Dame sidewalks could a much happier and safer place to traverse.