What is the sidewalk rule?
When you hear chivalry isn’t dead, knowing that the sidewalk rule is still alive just might be proof. But what is this pedestrian behavior that made waves on social media platforms like TikTok?
The sidewalk rule is when a man and woman in a relationship are walking down the street, the man walks street side (closest to the cars).
This is obviously not a hard rule (there’s no California penal code for this one!), nor is it anything new. But as trends get recycled over the years and decades, the sidewalk rule came back into prominence.
Sidewalk Rule trend on TikTok
The younger generation has discovered the sidewalk rule and as most viral trends go, it exploded on TikTok.
One of the most obvious retorts against the sidewalk rule is its roots in traditional dating or courtship between a man and a woman.
Who walks street side when a same-sex couple are walking down the street?
How did the sidewalk rule come to be?
The sidewalk rule came to be when sidewalks and carriages appeared on the roads together and the idea is that men would protect women from road splashes. Or at least that’s the rumor.
Like many traditions, it’s hard to know exactly when and why the sidewalk rule came to be, although most agree it’s for protection from splashes and other road dangers.
Why discuss the sidewalk rule on a legal blog?
Good question. We want to mention the sidewalk rule because it can raise some safety concerns.
It’s hard to believe, but some trends and games involving walking outdoors have caused serious injury and death.
It wouldn’t surprise us if the sidewalk rule forced people into unsafe situations, like walking on a very narrow sidewalk or where there are construction zones present.
Pedestrian rights and duty of care
We’ve discussed at length the rights of pedestrians and that they’re not immune to the rules of the road. Even though pedestrians generally have the right of way in many instances, they still have rules to follow.
There is also the concept of duty of care, which means an individual has the obligation to exercise care and caution when reasonable as to avoid negligent harm. In short, don’t step in front of a speeding jogger just to adhere to the sidewalk rule.
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