Walk, Stroll or Merely Scroll On By?

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I walk each and every day unless there is something wrong with me or the weather is a serious nightmare, in which case then l walk on a treadmill or l take a stroll in my garden. Sometimes, l get two walks in a day, but mostly it is one walk. There are other days – as in the weekends when l am taking longer walks or mini hikes. When l am out and about l have a CD player, l am wearing my Fitbit and l have my cybershot camera and that’s really all l have on me.

I don’t carry any ID and l don’t even have my phone with me – maybe foolish, but hell my theory is l am wearing clean underwear so if l get hit by anything at least that goes in my favour … which is always kind of odd and when my mother used to say that to me when young , l always challenged her back with ‘But if we get hit by something, there is a good chance that we will shit ourselves anyway, surely? So does it matter if our underwear is clean or not?” I never won the argument, so l always had to wear clean underwear anyway.

I am a careful walker, a courteous one to boot, l am mindful of other people in my space and tend to think of myself like a car when walking. I stay on the left when l am walking at a slower pace and when l am looking to overtake other walkers l try to overtake on the right, or if the space is clear l use the right side of the path to walk at a much quicker pace and if the space is seriously clear then l am speed walking right down the middle like a wild thing!

However, NOT all walkers are careful like me … many are, but sadly and equally, many are not … they walk in a crazy fashion, they are haphazard, they think like strollers and are unaware to others on the walkways, they hog the left, they hog the right, they hog the middle. Sure the pandemic has increased the absolute ignorance in many people, this ‘the world owes us attitude’ they possess and politeness is at times seemingly a thing of the past. But we can’t blame the pandemic for everything … the thing that gets me the most these days is those who walk and scroll and so many of these clones pretending to be people are completely clueless many a time to so much going on around them.

Not just people, but social distancing, nature, people walking, walking traffic, pavements, hillsides, roads … they walk around like drones being manipulated by their scrolling habits? I have seen people walking together not talking to each other, glued to their phones. A father pushing a pram yesterday afternoon hit me in the back because he didn’t see me! I had stopped at a road to wait for traffic to pass by and he walked straight into me and why?? Because he was scrolling on his phone … he said “”Haha sorry mate, was looking at my Facebook feed, didn’t see you there. Good job you was eh, otherwise l might have got hit by a car with the young un and the wife would have killed me proper!”

I nodded to him and smiled as if to say that’s fine ….. but inwardly thought “WTF you muppet, you are in charge of a child!! Put your phone away!!” But l am seeing this all the time, that people are forgetting social graces and niceties because of their inability to put their mobile phones away. Most of these so called Smartphones l am beginning to think are way smarter than many of their handlers!

But more importantly l have noticed , long before covid and the pandemic arrived – is the loss of socialness in crowds and this is down to phones. People interact with their phones more than they do actual people, and more dangerously in my eyes is people interacting with their phones whilst out walking. They miss so much .. do they not care? Why go outside into the nature, if you are scrolling through your phone whilst strolling? How does that make sense?

Oh right of course, it’s still fresh air … Okay l listen to music, and l don’t have a phone or rather l don’t have a Smartphone, my phone is an old Nokia, that doesn’t even have an Internet connection, it makes and takes calls and texts and more often and not, it lives in the house 24/7. But when l am listening to music l am still looking ahead of myself, l look at the path l am walking on and checking for cracks or holes or slipways, if l see walkers or dog walkers l say hello to them and be social, good morning or good afternoon pending the time of the day … but l am very aware of my surroundings and all that is in it and l appreciate it all. If l am crossing a road, both earphones are out and l am listening for traffic as well as watching for it … l am always mindful.

People who are mindful walkers engage in a form of crowd awareness and engagement of others, they are inadvertently socialising with society and creating routines to social patterning. This in turn means that crowds without even knowing each other are always mindful of each others presence in the world around them – however this pattern of life is broken continuously by people who scroll when they stroll. Like with most things or when a stone is dropped into a pool of water … the ripple effect is like that of a chain reaction .. so when disturbed, it alters the pathway of a pattern and can cause a disruption much further down the way.

Stroller Scrollers as l refer to them as, don’t walk in an organised manner, they are abstract and can be haphazard because their minds are on other matters and not where their feet are heading. Yes, they occasionally glance up, and they can alter their course, but many a time, these distractions cause them to not see where they are going! This is turn effects the pattern of their walking and research has proven that a chain reaction due to a lack of navigation when walking looking at a mobile phone from the point of impact can affect up to fifty people along a designated traffic route. [Think about a crowded shopping centre or mall or a busy street]

Accidents by distracted walkers [mostly by mobile phones, but other accidents such as looking left and being hit on the right and not ‘looking’ both ways as an example] has increased since the early 2000’s and when you read these studies it is remarkably fascinating. I only have to look about me when l am out and about and l am quite oft surprised by how many walkers are actually scrolling and strolling or lolling as their thumbs are rolling over their miniature screens to see how their careless behaviours could impact other people all too easily.

However, all that aside, the questions ….

Are you a ‘scroller stroller’ when out and about or is your phone carefully pocketed somewhere on your person?

Have you ever whilst strolling and scrolling walked into someone, slipped over or had some other type of accident or have you had an accident with a careless scroller stroller yourself?

Let me know below.

Thanks

20 thoughts on “Walk, Stroll or Merely Scroll On By?

  1. I’ve had accidents regardless of phone present or not. I am accident prone. I talk on my phone while walking, but use earphones. I don’t look at social media while walking, but sometimes I stop to take pictures. The point I’m trying to make is that I usually am careful walker but sometimes accidents happen. Not always my fault though!

  2. Are you a ‘scroller stroller’ when out and about or is your phone carefully pocketed somewhere on your person? *snicker* what is this ‘strolling’ of which you speak? 😉 I can barely stand up, walking anywhere for any length of time is beyond me. Ziggy is not best pleased by that set of circumstances either. HOWEVER, when I did walk him ‘before’, I NEVER took any sort of device with me at all. I regretted not having a camera on me from time to time, but mostly I didn’t miss not having a phone or any electronics attached to me. For me, it is all about the connection with nature. In my opinion, all that buzz from having electronics about one’s person tends to harsh the natural buzz. I’m not a fan of phones or such in the first place though. And I’m not judging anyone who is that attached to their devices that they must have them available.

    Have you ever whilst strolling and scrolling walked into someone, slipped over or had some other type of accident or have you had an accident with a careless scroller stroller yourself? Last year when I would walk the parks with my cousins, I was very dismayed (and not slightly angered) by the number of dweebs who were walking around, no mask, and no boundaries of 6 feet. I’d get quite vocal about it too and tell them to get the %!#$ away from me. I was almost run over by bicycle riders who apparently couldn’t read the signs on the shared path about where the walkers and the bicycles were supposed to be. I had people staring at their phones almost run into me and on occasion tread on my feet. They didn’t do it twice. Once I screamed quite loudly and said “OUCH! WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING!!” in an aggrieved tone. The treader/stroller ran the other way. Bwahahah.

  3. I admit to sudden stops, grabbing my phone to take pictures. I also listen to music on my phone while walking. It’s usually in my pocket, but it comes out for pictures, and to “like” or skip a song (I’m training the algorithm on a playlist).
    I don’t always listen to music. Sometimes I want to hear the birds or the wind in the trees. But since my walking is all “city”, I’m usually blocking out traffic noise.

    My biggest habit that might cause an accident or fall is dancing, prancing or playing “air drums” while I’m walking.

    No social media for this stroller. Music, camera… grooving on Nature! And saying hello to people, pets, and birds.😆

  4. I’ve only started listening to music when I did Couch to 5k last Summer because it suggests it for motivation. I only put in one earphone though. Before that, and even now, I don’t listen to music when out walking. I’m not on social media so I don’t “scroll” at all. I’ve got the cheapest phone plan I could find – £6 per month – so you can see, I don’t use it a lot for phoning or messaging either.

    I have it for its camera, the Strava app to record my route and stats (but I don’t look at it until the very end) and the OS map navigation (GPS) intermittently – I may be moving for that if the footpath isn’t clearly marked in reality but one eye has to be on the terrain.

    To be fair, where I go there’s usually very few people about so no accidents or incidents. I have to walk on the right hand side of a road because there’s rarely a pavement to walk on and it says to do that in the highway/country code. 🙂

    1. Hey Ian, it’s funny you should mention the right side of the road 🙂

      Highway / country code is correct and yet so many people don’t seem to know or understand that here?? It’s not age thing either. as l see all ages breaking the saftey codes,. I was always told to walk towards oncoming traffic.

      When l am roadside walking as opposed to pavement walking , l always adhere to the code.

      I am baffled as to how many people don’t seemingly understand the basics and more frighteningly l have seen dog walkers or parents with children perform this madness!!

      That seems to be something else that is fast disappearing.

      1. It’s a bugbear of mine too, especially when cycling because on a bike, I have to be on the left hand side like all wheeled traffic, and when approaching walkers on the same side, with their backs to you – it can be extremely hazardous. I fitted a bell – not a requirement in the code! – but it’s surprising how many don’t hear it. Too busy scrolling! Ha ha.

        1. Oh l know, l see walkers get angry at cyclists and l think what?? You are right, you don’t have to fit a bell, but most don’t hear bells. if l am roadside walking, l don’t even have my music on as l want to be prepared for any eventuality, but l see scrollers, joggers who bloody well should know better, dog walkers, hikers and the list is endless who are completely oblivious to everything except themselves.

          I remember a couple of weeks ago, a young couple challenging cyclists about ‘creeping up behind them! But ignored the defence of ‘It might help if you were on the right side of the road for starters then you would have seen us coming and we would not have to be mindful of not running you over!!”

          I thought for a terrible moment it was going to end in fisticuffs!!

          But this is the madness that l am seeing and you too and many others – the world’s gone nuts Ian!! Hahaha

          These offenders would scream murder if they got hit by a car whilst walking on the wrong side of the road.

  5. I have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time, so no way I could stroll and scroll at the same time. I keep my phone in my back pocket unless someone calls or texts me, and if that happens, I stop strolling. Hence, I’ve never walked into someone or something while scrolling.

    1. I can relate to that my friend. I used to ride a bike around the countryside, l discovered l had extremely poor balance. if l looked over either of my shoulders whilst riding [checking traffic], l instantly veered off to left or right and crashed!! Now l just walk and look straight ahead and that is a concentrated walk. Haha

  6. People who scroll and stroll really piss me off! Ewan does it around the house, and i’ve lost count the amount of times i’ve said to him, “for fuck sake, but your bloody phone down and actually look where you’re going!” I’m surprised there isn’t an app to alert you in some way that you’re getting to close to someone, like a sensor monitor.

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