20 Worst Walking Annoyances

End of Walk
What? End of Walk?. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Most of us are "happy wanderers," but sometimes things trip us up. I asked my walking friends what things annoy them, then found some resources to find solutions:

Unwalkable Streets:

  • Sporadic Sidewalks: First a sidewalk on one side of the street, then it runs out and there is a sidewalk only on the other side of the street, then it may run out and there is none at all for a stretch, then maybe there are sidewalks on both sides. Should I just walk facing traffic, or play Frogger back and forth across the street?
  • No Sidewalks: The worst is having no sidewalk and areas with a deep ditch on the side of the road - nowhere to run to when traffic comes too close. Unless the road is frequented by a lot of runners and joggers, it's best to choose a different route for safety.
  • Bad Shrubbery: Bushes, tree limbs, etc. that are not trimmed away from the sidewalks. This is especially annoying when walking with a friend and you have to keep switching to single file.
  • I Showered Already This Morning: Sprinklers that are impossible to avoid, and may contain unhealthy irrigation water teeming with E. coli rather than drinking water.

Information on Pedestrian Issues
Perils For Pedestrians: Cable access TV show that features the issues pedestrians care about.
America WALKs: Coalition of pedestrian advocacy groups nationwide.
Pedestrian Advocacy

Bad Drivers

  • They Think They Own the Crosswalk: Drivers who turn right on a red light, not yielding to (or even seeing) pedestrians who have the "walk" symbol.
  • They Think They Own the Sidewalk: Drivers who pull out over the sidewalk from driveways to await turning onto a street, without regard for pedestrians who are walking down the sidewalk. You have to veer into the traffic lane to get around them, or risk passing behind them.
  • Bad Parking: Cars parked blocking the sidewalk.
  • Road Rage: Drivers/passengers who approach from behind and either yell out the window (usually obscenities) or honk. This is another good reason to walk facing traffic. They can't trail you.
    Report on Road Rage from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Annoying Humans

  • Blockades: Groups of people who walk together, stretch out across the width of the trail (however wide or narrow) and are oblivious to those who want to get by.
  • Run/Walkers: At a fun run/walk with a mixed group, you will often have those who run for a bit, then slow down to a walk, then run, etc. I walk a steady pace and they seem to use people like me for a goal or target. As soon as they pass me at a trot, they jump right ahead of me a step and slow to a virtual stop. I have to either veer around them or smash into them. Run/walkers - you are on notice! From here on out, you will get a sharp poke in the kidneys when you do this.
  • Cell Phonys: People talking on their cell phones, weaving erratically as they walk, oblivious to those behind or around them. They are noise pollution as well as a moving hazard.
  • Smoke Screen: Smokers who leave a cloud of fumes as they mill around outside of businesses or walk down the sidewalks.
  • Duck!: Hunting allowed on trails. It's best to wear bright, non-deerlike colors when you walk in the woods during hunting season!

Annoying Animals

Toxic Plants

  • Attack of the Killer Blackberry Vines: The fore-mentioned untrimmed foliage that blocks your view or reaches out to grab you. Blackberry vines in the Pacific Northwest are especially known to snag walkers - and the scratches can quickly become infected.
  • Poison oak/ivy: All about poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac


  • Creeping Shorts: Shorts that creep up as you walk along and you have to keep pulling them down.
  • Chafing: It's not really the clothing, it's the sweat. There are ways to prevent painful chafing.
  • But it was Cold when I Started: You will warm up as you walk, so you need to dress in layers that you can easily peel off and carry. This is why you see so many walkers with shirts tied around their hips. Dress like it's 10F degrees warmer to start.


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