As readers have no doubt noticed, it's National Etiquette Week here at SFist. After yesterday's lesson in the unspoken rules of public transit, we're stepping off the bus and walking the rest of the way for a refresher course on how to act while navigating the city's sidewalks, plazas and other public spaces on foot. Because pretty much everything out there is going to try to run you over, eventually.
Texting, Tweeting and Other Distractions
If you really need to Instagram that picture of your latte leaf so bad, maybe you should just get out of the middle of the sidewalk and go lean up against a lamp post while you do it. Otherwise, you will one day end up running in to said lamp post and the rest of us are going to get a good laugh out of it. (On second thought, keep texting.) And for heaven's sake, don't step out in an intersection with your eyes trained on your iPhone, no matter what the person in the corner of your eye is doing. Always assume that person is trying to lead you in to an open manhole.
Stay to the Right
We covered this in terms of escalators and stairs, but it bears repeating especially for crowded thoroughfares on busy days. If you absolutely must gush over that Valencia Street window display, kindly resume walking on the right when you're done. Saturdays at the Ferry Building should be dealt with like busy intersections. If you're headed straight for someone, both parties should calmly take a step to their right and we can avoid awkward sidewalk dances forever.
Large Groups of Slow Walkers
Don't be a jerk. No one likes a slow walker, much less a group of them four abreast. Let some other people around, OK?
Crossing the Street
At stop signs, when a driver gives you the go-ahead nod, don't be all weird and hesitant about it. Assume if you do that driver will hate you and then try to run you over.
San Francisco, being a progressive city full of high-tech devices and all, has installed handy countdown timers at nearly every intersection with a stop light. You, intelligent human being that you are, can use these timers to gauge whether or not you have enough time to cross all those lanes of traffic before the taxi waiting at the light starts honking at you to get out of the street. As a general rule of thumb three seconds left on the clock is not enough time to cross Market without leaving you in the path of an oncoming Muni bus. Which brings us to...
Look, we're all busy people here with plenty of important places to be and sometimes we just can't be bothered to wait for the light to change. We're not going to tell you to do anything illegal, but don't be a dummy, okay? Jaywalking at any intersection with more than two traffic patterns (Oak and Octavia, Market and Noe/16th come to mind) is just a terrible idea. On the other hand, maybe you don't feel like waiting for the light to cross 17th Street at Mission? At least check for traffic, cross where there's actually a crosswalk, don't linger in the street and certainly don't expect drivers to stop and wait for you if you jump in front of them. Always assume motor vehicles are out to kill you. Which they are, but no one wants to read about that later.
Walk Your Bike
Are you over the age of 13? Yes? Then why the hell are you riding your bicycle on the sidewalk? By now we all know city streets can be terrifying for cyclists, and we can sympathize (If you're crapping your pants over vehicular traffic on a particular street, you might want to look in to a different route. Otherwise, just get back on the bus.) We once nearly got shoulder checked by a biker on the sidewalk mere feet from the bike lane behind the Market Street Safeway. There is literally zero car traffic there. Inexcusable. You get about a six-foot buffer zone to dismount on the sidewalk and even then, you're pushing it. (It should also go without saying that bike lanes are not sidewalks. That's not how bike lanes work.)
Everyone Hates Your Grownup Razor Scooter
No, seriously. What are you doing?