Saturday, February 11, 2006

How to avoid crashing into strangers without slowing down

When not visiting clients, I tend to work in IBM's office in Central London. The office is very near to one of London's busiest commuter stations so I find myself travelling in the opposite direction to most other commuters: I am using the London underground network to reach Waterloo station when most other workers are trying to leave Waterloo and vice versa.

This makes for a more relaxing journey (fewer people to compete with for space on the trains I use, etc, etc). But it does cause one problem when walking: there is almost always a wall of people hurtling towards me.

This problem is particularly acute near my home in Canary Wharf. There are lots of very modern office blocks in a regimented pattern, with blind corners.

This means that when I approach a blind corner I have to slow down to avoid the risk of bumping into the crowd coming the other way. This makes my life somewhat difficult as I don't "do" slow walking.

n the diagrams below, the blue blocks are buildings, I am the green path and the oncoming crowd is in black.

The first diagram below shows the problem: blind corner and oncoming crowd.

The second diagram shows my solution. As I approach a blind corner, I change direction and walk across the potentially oncoming crowd. If no crowd materialises, I am not really worse off. But if there is a crowd, I am walking perpendicularly to it and so have several precious milliseconds to find a gap between people to dart into.

This increases the distance I walk but means I have no need to slow down. Excellent!

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Jon Deane said...

This is almost as autistic as Zaty.

Quixotist said...

Fuck off. I don't do that. I stop and peer round the corner to make sure i don't impact a scary stranger.

Richard Brown said...

Peering round the corner is, of course, a relatively safe bet. But it doesn't assist me in my desire to walk at high speeds.

My original plan for this article included a diagram which elaborated on my 'S-shaped' walking pattern underneath the DLR near Mackenzie Walk - intended to outline a truly optimal pattern in the face of multiple blind corners. Sadly, the artistic wizadry necessary exceeded my Powerpoint Bezier curve abilities. Truly a tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it make life more exciting to stumble into different people? Of course it will slow you down so just leave home ten minutes earlier each day to allow for collision time. GEB

Quentin Way said...

being absent minded and self absorbed I just charge around said corner expecting no-one else to be coming the other way.

which more often than not results in an unpleasant suprise, and various collision avoidance strategies such as sidestepping, or wide arcs out across the path and onto the road.

but Rich, I think I have to agree with Jon on this one. is there a support group around for this sort of thing?

GEB said...

Richard , don't you think it's amusing( and significant) that there have been so many comments about ways to walk around corners as opposed to more intellectual comments about your other blogs? Perhaps corner manoevering is in the zeitgeist.

Richard Brown said...

Perhaps corner manoevering is in the zeitgeist.

Wow.... if my blog ever manages to capture the spirit of our age, I will retire happy :-)

Rob C said...

You have far too much time on your hands to be doing this Mr Brown

Bill said...

I think about these things quite a bit, but I never really thought about posting a diagran. Bravo!

DK said...

Have you considered Parkour?