October 29, 2006

Walk this way

Australian’s are more afraid of walking than people in other countries.

Not fear of the activity and action of walking, per se, but fear of the perils that lurk for people who meander or perambulate on streets and in parks and so forth. You know, like out there right in the midst of the open spaces of life.

"The survey canvassed the opinions of 150 international walking experts. It found that 85 per cent of Australians fear for their personal safety compared with 65 per cent around the world.

Around 5 per cent of women and children walk "a great deal" or "a lot" in Australia, compared with more than 30 per cent in other countries."

The really sad part of this is not anything in relationship to our girths getting wider, rather, it’s the wide spread internalization of irrational and entirely unfounded fears. We are blessed with living in one of the safest countries in the world.

I can appreciate the fear of traffic, but adults should know how to cross roads safely. I can also appreciate the fear for children’s safety, but no-one is suggesting that children should be let loose on their own, and certainly not let loose to play at the local intersection.

[There are international walking experts? Lots of them? Wow. - ed]

Walking is civilized, as evidenced by the Wright brothers, who demonstrate how to stroll safely and with maximum decorum.


  1. Anonymous2:19 AM

    My daughter walks to school now by herself. She is ten years old . She kept pestering me about walking on her own. And I thought.. well she has to learn sometime.
    I myself was walking to school on my own from the age of six. She is a sensible kid and the school is very close to our home.

    Guess you gotta let go sometime eh?

  2. It's the Derby hats that make for decorous walking. You can tilt them one way or another to balance yourself so you don't lurch all over the place like a drunk (unless you're a drunk).

  3. Anonymous3:27 AM

    You oughta know Drunka !!!

  4. Anonymous7:22 AM

    VicHealth chief executive Rob Moodie urged governments to do more to promote walking in the community. "We live in a box, we go and hop in a box on wheels, and then drive to another box where we work. The notion of the great outdoor physical active sporting race is becoming mythology."

    Yeah thanks heaps Sir Icky Bobby Sickie Dr Moodie (rude prick with bar) for your friendly and free advice.

    Just what we needed.

  5. I thought I was being a neglegent blogger with my present sporadic posting, but Blogger has beaten me on all measures of sporadic ... for days now Blogger has been working even less than sporadically.

    Derby hats? Yes, yes, it's the spring carnival racing season here Drunka, and we'll ALL be sporting Derby Day hats - or facinators - and then falling down drunk. Well, okay, that sort of defeats walking decoriously then.

  6. Anonymous3:56 PM

    I enjoy a good walk, but I don't drive.

    Aussies are surely made of tougher stuff.

  7. I often talk about this, not being a driver also I've walked all over three cities at all hours (Canberra, Brisneyland and Melbourne), and I still maintain you're pretty much only going to find trouble if you go looking for it.

    Bizarrely, the one thing I've encountered overwhelmingly on my late night perambulations were shift workers taking their dogs out for a stroll.

    It's kind of surreal seeing some dude in jogging clothes with a labrador flash past you at one am...

  8. Now that I think of it, the most disconcerting and definitely dangerous thing I have ever, and consistently, encountered out on the streets ... and I hate to have to say it ... is cyclists.

    More times than I care to remember I've had cyclists race past, with barely a whisker of distance between my physical safety and their tail wind. Frightens the crap out of me, and I don't kid myself about just how much damage would be done if hit by such a projectile.

  9. I'm an enthusiastic walker, though not nearly as heroic as folks like Charles Dickens or Chesterton (who apparently could spend half-a-day wandering around London, just on a whim). However, I valiantly strove to meet their efforts on my visit to Sydney on the weekend, where I found myself walking up and down numerous suburban streets, mostly to no purpose.

  10. Walking the streets in new places is always fascinating.

  11. I was walking the streets in old places, actually! I studied at Sydney Uni, and I've always had relatives up in corners of that world.

    There's nothing like walking around a new place, but revisiting old haunts has a pleasure all of its own.

  12. Old haunts can be disconcerting though. It's intriguing, but not necessarily in the way we would like, or expected.

    Old haunts are also a 3-D reminder of the passage of time ... but you're still just a young 'un, so maybe not an issue for you yet; give it another decade!

    Quite a few places I'd like to go back to, even though I know they've changed, I still want to have a "look see", a walk down memory lane.

    Coming back to Melb after 18 years was really strange: everything in the CBD and inner suburbs was pretty much exactly as I had left it. You've no idea how disconcerting that was! Real time warp stuff.

  13. Oh no! I walk almost everyday!

  14. Well, you'd have to stop that silliness if you moved here Cubicle!