Royal-Mile dawdlers

I live in Edinburgh, and I usually walk along the Royal Mile on my way to and from work. For people who haven’t been to Edinburgh: the Royal Mile is the street that runs from the Palace of Holyroodhouse up to the Castle; it’s mainly populated by tourist shops and shopping tourists, but it’s quite a nice street for all that, and has some nice pubs. During the Festival, however, which is currently underway, it becomes a bit of a nightmare, as the number of tourists increases manifold. The main source of annoyance are the dawdlers, who seem to fill the pavements, either standing still to chat or taking pictures, or wandering so slowly that they might as well be standing still. But I think the most annoying thing is how disinclined they are to move out of the way of someone who actually has somewhere to go. This seems a failure of basic manners, and I can see three possible explanations for the behaviour:

  • Tourists forget how to behave properly;
  • The people who do this are from countries where it’s not normal to move out of the way of people who want to get past;
  • It’s an illusion, and most people are like this most of the time.

There may be more. But which is right? Or is there another explanation?

4 Comments

Filed under Thoughts and rants

4 responses to “Royal-Mile dawdlers

  1. I think dawdlers are found in any pedestrian heavy area with tourists exaggerating the effect because they aren't familiar with the area. You probably don't notice it the rest of the year because the lower numbers mean you can go around them easily. When I travel and gawk I first try to step to the side of the walk to get out of folk's way. That is simple courtesy. I assume most people forget those around them and don't pay attention.This isn't just true of walkers, drivers do the same thing. Here in New England (USA) during the fall "leaf peepers" will putter along down narrow rural roads blocking traffic. They ignore the huge conga line of cars behind them. Some US states require you to pull over if there are too many stuck behind you.

  2. They might be looking the wrong way for traffic and not notice you coming. I mean foot traffic: at least here in the Netherlands the footpaths are right-biased (by vague emergent convention), just like the roads (by law).

  3. Valerie Pattison

    Don’t you want people to stop and admire your city? Tourists bring trade and keeps your city in business. Being slightly cross at pavement blockers is a small price to pay.

  4. I have no problem at all with people visiting the city, admiring it, and so on. I think this is a good thing, but I also think it’s not much to ask that they try not to fill the pavements and at least step out of the way when people need to get past them! As Anonymous says, this is simple courtesy.

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