Commuting in London: Pedestrians are the worst people in London

There is a perception from those outside the capital, generally Oop North, that we in London are a bunch of miserable, impolite grumps, who want nothing more than to never acknowledge any one else exists.

This is absolutely true.

There is good reason for this, however. If you are based in London, chances are you’ll have to spend a lot of time walking, and that will mean you are constantly surrounded by pedestrians. I can think of little worse.

Generally speaking, there are five different types of pedestrians in London:

The phone zombies

You know who I’m talking about. The people that are so engrossed with what’s going on in their phones they have the peripheral vision of a mole.

They are normally swaying from one side of the pavement to the other, walking slower than should be humanly possible, and don’t realise anyone is in front of them until they’re virtually embracing. Even when they notice, there’s rarely more than a slight sidestep as they remained glued to their phones.

Around the Bank/Liverpool Street area, there are more of these people than there are streetlights.


God bless them for what they do for the economy, but I’ll be damned if they’re not the most infuriating people to be stuck behind. Always slow moving, never sure of where they’re going, and in constant awe of their surroundings, they are not the people to be stuck behind on the way to a meeting.

Much like their Phone Zombie equivalents, they tend to be looking down, but instead at foldout, paper maps. I didn’t even know they still made those.

And nowhere is too uninteresting for an elaborate photo opportunity.

Takeaway Coffee Drinkers

They’re not actually a problem, but it annoys me for some reason.

Pedestrian Pairs

Often a couple, but not necessarily. These are two people walking side by side, in the middle of an in-depth conversation. To stop walking side by side would mean stopping the conversation, or maybe not holding hands for upwards of eight seconds, so it’s easier to stay next to each other and force EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON to move around you. Even if it means they have to walk in to the path of an oncoming bus.

I’m getting irrationally angry just thinking about this, so I’ll move on.

High Speed Swervers

aka: me

There is no speed fast enough for a HSS. Any speed below “dangerous” is frustrating beyond belief, which results in a lot of tutting, murmuring, or (in extreme examples) barging. They don’t necessarily have anywhere to go, but they have to get there quickly. These are the people that swerve out of the standard walking formation, moving either to oncoming pedestrians at the other side of the pavement, or worse, in to the road itself.

These are the people that cyclists hate.

Despite saying this, there is no rule for how quickly you actually have to walk, but more how quickly you think you’re walking. The absolute worst of these types are those that think they’re one of the HSS, but actually aren’t all that quick at all.


Any one of these would be frustrating to deal with, but on any given London street you will have a combination of them all.

It’s no wonder we all hate each other.

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5 thoughts on “Commuting in London: Pedestrians are the worst people in London

  1. K.L. Allendoerfer says:

    You should visit Cambridge sometime–Cambridge Massachusetts, that is. I used to work in Kendall Square near MIT and Google, and I think that is the jaywalking capital of the world. I’ve visited London (and no doubt been one of those pesky tourists, looking the wrong way before crossing the street) and it doesn’t come close to the utter disregard for traffic signals you see in Cambridge MA. Or maybe I just haven’t been to the really bad parts of London!

    Also, my husband is an HSS, and he lived in London for several years while getting his PhD. Maybe that’s where he learned it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. larnerholt says:

      But is he a fast one, or a slow one? Because I’m becoming increasingly annoyed at those who think they’re a fast walker, and therefore act like it, but are actually slower than should be humanly possible.

      There will be a follow up to this on driving, which I’d be interested to get your views on given what you said about jaywalking in Cambridge.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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