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Hey Left Side Drivers (1 Viewer)

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Jun 19, 2000
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John Doroshenk
In the US we drive on the right side of the road and it is customary to walk down the street, or on stairs on the right side as to not walk into the people coming in the other direction. In countries that drive on the left side, do you walk on the left side of a sidewalk or stairs? I've always wondered this. Please let me know.

John
 

Maurice McCone

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John,
interesting question. I am British living in England. I must say that I am not awar of walking on any particular side of the pavement, however, as you are aware we drive on the correct side of the road - the left :)
The historical reasons for driving on the left is said to come the practice of knights or armed riders who would obviously pass each other with their 'fighting arm' or sword arm to the other individual; as most people are right handed, the practice became to keep to the left.
Incidently saluting in the military comes from the practice of lifting ones visor to greet another and thus is carried on by the right handed salute in most military units today.
This right handed bias is also why old medieval castles were built with their stairs in towers rising in a clockwise fashion; giving the advantage to the right handed defenders retreating upwards.
Thus I am left wondering why the US drives on the right at all ? I can't think of any historical roots; any one know when this started ?
 
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John Doroshenk
Ok, then my challenge for you to do, is go to the market and walk down the aisle and line up directly infront of someone and walk towards them, what is your instinct and what is their first movement towards? I'm wondering which way both of you go. In the states, its about 90% people go to the right. The other times its mostly cause the one person is so far to the left that its just easier.
 

Jim_F

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John,

That's odd. I was just thinking about posting the same question here.
 

ChrisMatson

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I wish more people realized this!:angry:
I hate it when people walk on the left, especially at crowded shopping malls.
 

Maurice McCone

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surely if you are approaching someone and as is usual you would make to shake hands (with your right hands) then surely the natural postion is to have this person on your right hand side ie you would pass him on the left ?
 

Ben Osborne

Second Unit
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Mar 9, 2002
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I hate it when people walk on the left, especially at crowded shopping malls.

That and people walking in large groups and not leaving any room for others to pass, people stopping suddenly when others are right behind them, people having conversations in the middle of aisles, people not looking where they're going--the list goes on.

I used to work at a place that required me to park in a parking lot attached to a mall. The fastest way to the office was through the mall, so I've seen just about every walking violation there is. I wish more people would obey the unwritten rules of walking in public.
 

Maurice McCone

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may I also tack on a related question?

Why are there so few roundabouts (sorry , rotarys)on American roads?

They seem a more efficient practice and less dangerous than intersections.....
 

BrianB

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Because American drivers are generally not taught how to use them, thus when presented with them, they're viewed as dangerous & ill-advised after numerous accidents, so they're removed.

Sigh.

Happened to one in Clearwater, recently.
 

Malcolm R

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For which-side-of-the-road info, check out this link. Looks like most of the world drives on the right, while mostly the UK and their former "possessions" retain the left-side convention.
As far as rotaries, we're trying to put more of them here in VT, but despite their safety record, environmental benefits, and lesser cost to build, it's a hard uphill fight to get the public to go along with them. There are a few, however, with plans to build at least two more near me. The education issue is very valid, as well. Using the few we do have, I generally always see someone using them incorrectly. It's not a hard concept, but people are conditioned to red=stop, green=go at intersections. Anything else is chaos.
Now traffic circles, which I remember from my college days in NJ, those are frightening. :)
 

Dan D.

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Rotaries/roundabouts seem to be popular on a state-by-state basis. We have a great many of them here in Massachusetts. I can think of 5 off the top of my head within 5 miles of where I live.
 
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John Doroshenk
Jim, I guess great minds think alike.

Anyways, the question will never be answered I guess. I'll just have travel across that big ocean and do some hardcore anthropological study and figure out this question.

As for roundabouts/rotary thingys, I can't stand em. In dc as chris was saying, there is one on I believe on wisconsin ave near friendship heights that has the circle then like 8 roads feeding into it, more than once I've gone full circle cause no one would let me over. Stupid circles.

By far the weirdest traffic pattern is one that I've only seen in New Jersey are those jug handle things (I believe thats what they call them) I was trying to make a left and it couldn't anywhere till I realized they had those strange roads on the right side of the road. Wouldn't a left turn lane with a yield light make life easier?
 

Jay H

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Wouldn't a left turn lane with a yield light make life easier?
Not necessarily.. If there is enough land to make three lanes in a two laned highway then yeah, it would be possible, but more often than not, highways in NJ are only divided by a concrete barrier and interstates use exit ramps anyway cause there are no lights.

Of course, there are the idiots who do try to make a left on highways where there is a jughandle...... Yeah, lets make a full stop in the left lane and try to make a left with the green... Sheesh.

What's freaky to me are those left/u-turn holes in the middle highway median where motorists trying to cross the highway first have to shoot through two lanes of people going 70-80mph to sit in a median and then scoot across two more lanes of cars going 70-80mph to get to the other side!! No lights, just people trying to cross a major highway. I see this alot on Rt 1 in Delaware, north of Lewes and Rehoboth beach... lots of almost accidents from the car behind the first turner trying to get across right after the first guy just makes it.

Jay
 

Shawn C

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Why are there so few roundabouts (sorry , rotarys)on American roads?
They decided to use them in Summerlin (in Las Vegas) as well. I think they have about 6 of them in that community. My wife's boss trashed his brand new Viper tryin to slide it sideways around one. I believe it flipped over.
 

Ryan Wright

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Why are there so few roundabouts (sorry , rotarys)on American roads?
What BrianB said. People are idiots. They put one of these in here and drivers were crossing the double-yellow line into oncoming traffic, then entering the roundabout and driving backwards in it. TONS OF PEOPLE DID THIS!! They handed out dozens of tickets the first few hours it was open for this!

I mean, how stupid can you be?!
 

eric nyhof

Stunt Coordinator
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Mar 10, 2002
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not sure if it was posted already, but you are supposed to walk on the left side of the road against traffic. If you are on a bike you have to follow all the rules of the road and must bike with traffic.
 

Richard Cooper

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Mar 21, 2001
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I usually head for the left side of the pavement when passing someone in the hope that they do the same, but 50% of teh time they go the right (this is assuming we're walking in opposite directions of course!).

It's something I've deliberately done for years.
 

BrianB

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They put one of these in here and drivers were crossing the double-yellow line into oncoming traffic,
They had to quickly take out the one that was built in Clearwater, Florida, because of the number of accidents. People just didn't know how to use them - it was practically a deathtrap for us as we were trying to drive around it 'correctly' but noone else was.
 

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