You may have walked around in a city before; you may even have walked around in London before. But then you tried Oxford Street!
You entered with confidence, but quickly you realise any direction you walk everybody is walking the other way. You almost get run over by a bicycle and you are hit left and right by phone cards and charity requests. Only 15 metres later you give up and return to the comfort of the nearest pub. You, the experienced walker, have failed!
IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!
I just walked Oxford Street from Tottenham Court Road to Selfridges at lunch time on a sunny Friday in under 10 minutes and without upsetting my fellow pedestrians!
YOU CAN DO IT TOO! HERE IS HOW:
1: Look for behaviour in other walkers
Groups of people walk in a similar fashion. Bunch of teens will walk slowly but with consistent speed. Busy business people will walk fast but constantly be forced to stop as they don’t look for patterns and shoppers will ram through anybody standing in front of the shop door.
Men tend to walk with more purpose, but without looking ahead resulting in them having to stop. Women on the other hand are better at looking a head, but can often decide to suddenly walking in a random unexpected direction.
As you get more experienced walking Oxford Street you will do this automatically but as a newbie make a point of observing other walkers consciously to begin with.
2: Look for patterns in traffic
Traffic can also give you valuable information for the walking conditions ahead. Look for intervals in traffic lights, road works ahead and listen for sirens. Busses blocking crossings can also be valuable in helping you cross red lights.
3: Walk in the outer lane away from shop entrances
Shop doors should be avoided as shoppers coming out have had their fix and are relaxed and walk very slowly while laughing and stuff.
Only exception is close to bus stops. They tend to gather standing people and since they are normally not built in front of doors it makes sense to walk around them using the inside lane but remember to get out again before you hit the next shop door.
4: Walk a consistent pace and with a clear direction
Choose a consistent pace and direction. Look up and straight ahead so people can see where you are heading.
If heading for a crash with another oncoming pedestrian avoid “the dance” by walking clearly in one direction lifting your opposite arm slightly pointing the side you want the other person to go to. Avoid making an obvious pointing gesture so the oncoming person feel they chose to go that way of own free will.
5: Use sun glasses
It works for men and women alike. Wearing sun glasses gives you a Matrix like power to separate people.
6: Walk behind other people with a purpose
Other more experienced walkers know these tricks. If you spot one, walk behind the person. They will deal with the brunt of the oncoming force and you will learn a trick or two as well for your next solo walk.
7: Do not walk close to kids with or without parents
It is tempting to walk behind kids especially if they are using a faster means of transport such as push bikes or baby strollers. While they may seem speedy and good at spearheading through oncoming crowd, this is often a short-lived bonus as they can suddenly grind to a halt due to an accident or a hissy fit.
8: Avoid charity workers or people handing out stuff
This is easier said than done but first of all try to time you passing these when they engage with other pedestrians.
And try to walk behind them. It doesn’t matter how close as long as you are outside their field of vision. Indeed, walking close may trick other people trying to catch you to think you have engaged with this particular person.
Avoid conversation of all cost.
9. Make way for older ladies and families
It is only polite and they are too slow to move out of the way anyway.
10. Avoid Tourists
This is a big time saver! Avoid tourists at all costs.
They will always stand in the middle of the pavement and the more they are the more they will spread out in a line across your path using maps and umbrellas to further extend their barrier.
There are essentially only two ways of dealing with tourists:
- If they are grouped together as a circular shape, walk around
- If they extend as a thin line across the pavement, do it the hard way and walk straight through. You can encourage them to part by mumbling something in a grumpy low voice (doesn’t have to be actual words).
Walk behind hot women! They tend to part the crowd, especially during spring/summer. This works even if you are a woman yourself. You will just reinforce the effect.
Watch out for big groups of approaching half-drunk men who may think this is a good chance to find a future bride. They can cause a blockage even if you (or the hot woman) don’t agree.