Study: ‘Sidewalk Rage’ Plagues New York City Streets

City Has Thousands Upon Thousands Of People Per Square Mile

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — You’re walking to work, making good time, and then… someone steps in front of you, moving at a snail’s pace. Or a tourist blocks your path to snap a picture. Or some knucklehead in front of you is focused on their Blackberry, not where they’re going.

We’ve all been there. If just the thought of any of these scenarios makes you reach the boiling point, though, you may have a problem. Apparently, you don’t have to hit the road to feel the rage.

Researchers say “sidewalk rage” is real.

1010 WINS’ John Montone tries to stop and talk to some aggressive walkers in Midtown

Aggressive walkers can express their frustration in different forms and intensity levels – ranging from staring down a slow walker to physically bumping into them. Experts say acting out on sidewalk rage may be a sign of a psychiatric condition known as “intermittent explosive disorder.”

“I am one of those sidewalk ragers, it just drives me crazy,” Joe Camposo, of Westbury, confessed to 1010 WINS’ John Montone. “It’s either move or get out of the way. I have no patience.”

Two women from Brooklyn told Montone they’ve been victims of sidewalk rage getting pushed, knocked down and elbowed.

Researchers are conducting studies to determine what sets people off and how it can be curbed – especially since the sidewalks aren’t getting any less crowded.

According to a study conducted by the NYC Department of City Planning, the city was listed as having the highest population density in the country with 26,403 people per square mile in 2000.

According to the study, the average speed of walkers in Lower Manhattan is 4.27 feet per second – tourists clocked in at 3.79 ft/s, smokers at 4.17 ft/s, cell phone users at 4.20 ft/s, men at 4.42 ft/s, and woman at 4.1 ft/s.

So, if you can’t get rid of all those people in your way, then you have to get the anger out of your head.

Frank, from the Upper West Side, suggests getting away for a while. He admits that he used to be an aggressive walker until he spent a few years in Los Angeles.

“You kind of calm down over there, you mellow out,” Frank said.

If you can’t take a vacation from the mean streets of New York City then take a deep breath and realize those slow walkers aren’t out to get you.

Do you experience sidewalk rage? How do you control your anger? Let us know below!

More from John Montone
  • JM in San Diego CA

    I’m a New York native, but I won’t ever move back.

    An interesting scientific study some years ago involved the crowding of lab rats. They had plenty of food and water, appropriate fresh air and light/dark periods … BUT, when they got crowded together beyond a certain point, they spontaneously started killing each other. True story.

    • orangemtl

      Sadly, it’s far less effective when applied to New Yorkers.
      Maybe they need a mandatory Carry Permit Law…

  • Grimriffer

    “intermittent explosive disorder”, yeah, I have that in my colon sometimes. Psychiatry is about as legitimate as global warming.

  • Corona

    Where’s everybody quickly walking to? Their jobs? Jobs?! In NYC?! Hahahahahahahahaha.

    • afrosheen

      actually the unemployment rate is only extraordinarily hight for minoroties. And we like it that way……

      • Rodin

        “hight” (?) for minoroties (?), afrosheen?

        Don’t walk quickly. You’ve definitely got somewhere to go.

        RUN … back to school and learn to ‘rite’!

  • zsuzi

    i give what i get. i get good, i give good. give me a hard time i will get loud and embarrass you. i have not yet risen above the chaos but i hope to some day. you see that’s what intelligent human beings do. there is logic to it and it isn’t based upon emotion. if you attack me, i defend myself. it will be you not me who suffers for i am a good person doing nothing wrong.

    • sir kingsley

      @zsuzi, being a good person will not exempt you from suffering… that’s just not how the world works. Haven’t you realized by now?

      • zsuzi

        in another mood i wouldn’t have bothered to respond to your frivolous comment. duh — people suffer all over the world. my remarks were specific to the topic. have you not got enough common sense by now?

  • Alan Playa Del Rey

    When someone is on the wrong side of the sidewalk and appears to be going to claim the right of way; I stop and re-tie my shoelace. If i have to I willl take off my shoe and shake it out. Last time after all this I just stood there and turned to face the street looking across the street for someone. We are both still standing here. He’s persistent but a little nuts; I thnk.

  • BullRoo

    • John Stevens

      The average speed of pedestrians in NYC has decreased significantly over past decades as new immigrants from slow moving tropical cultures and yuppies from the heartland replaced the previous population.

  • mdb

    NYC fast walkers what a joke. I travel to Manhattan several times a year and always amazed at the stick up the but attitude of the so called locals.

    I move to the right, stop next to a building to take any mobile call. Move briskly when I am able and never seem to avoid a sour faced NYC native with a built in chronic I’m miserable look. Maybe they are miserable. I still like New York, despite the a–holes.

    • Chris

      News flash- you ARE one of the a-holes. Go back to New jersey.

  • Rodin

    “Frank, from the Upper West Side, suggests getting away for a while.”

    I got away … FOR GOOD!

  • Unreal

    Hopefully you are enroute to a place of education Mr. Duggins!

  • Joel

    The older and more wealthy I get, the less I want to put up with the liberal b.s. found in our major metro areas on both coasts. I have found conservative states are more friendly, less expensive and not as crowded for my visits.

    Conservative areas treat me better, are more pleasant and are cleaner cities to boot. That’s where I prefer to spend my money.

    • LivesInACowPasture

      How in the heck do you go from sidewalk rage to commenting upon how you perceive the difference of attitude in ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ cities? Are you THAT polarized that politics overshadows EVERYTHING? Get a life, Joel, this is about human nature. By the way, get off my sidewalk if you can’t keep up.

      • stacie in colorado

        I agree w/ Joel …. it’s so true.

      • WillK

        Hey Hey! Leave Joel alone. He’s obviously very insecure. Geez, don’t be so mean LivesInACowPasture. It’s o.k. Joel, there there now, sshhh sshhh you’re wealthy, mommy knows her little Joel is wealthy. Don’t cry don’t cry now.

    • Jack the Ripper

      Agree with Joel. Condescending responses to Joel provide evidentiary support for his conclusion. Hope I run through you belligerent liberal pukes on the sidewalk soon. I’ll keep my pig-sticker sharp!

  • Don Phillips

    I just love the comments about tourists from the idots in New York. Get a New Yorker our of their home environs and you’ve never seen bigger morons. Go on an island or beach vacation and have the tranquility destroyed when a gang of yankees from NYC descend on the beach and start yappping loudly in that highly irritating accent. Jesus, put a sock in it. Or better yet, stay in the City and keep complaining about tourists and leave the rest of us in peace.

    • chooch

      How can we leave the rest of you in peace when you all won’t stay the hell away??

      • McSorley

        I hear Bin Laden likes New York so much he diverted several flights to Manhattan.

    • Pleasance

      Yankees are NOT from NYC. Or is it the baseball team that gives you problems. Try to learn what you are talking about.

  • WillK

    • WillK

      You walk your walk. I’ll walk mine. Just don’t tread on me, and you’ll be fine.

  • laguna

    New Yorkers have always been rude jerks-What’s new!

    • Ray

      Right Laguna, and you never yell at a car for cutting you off, or for driving to slow in the fast lane.

    • chooch

      I’d love to see how you react on a highway with a car going 20mph in front of you. Now shut your mouth.

      • amish

        i usually go around them or call the cops since going under 45 MPH on a highway is illegal.

        “now shut your mouth” you sound like a typical NYer…

  • walter12

    You think that this is a problem for NY. What are you going to do when the real shortages come soon, no oil which means no gasoline, no food, no clean water? What are you going to do in NY when there is another Muslim terrorist attack? And this is just the beginning for NY.

    • Ray

      Um….what the hell does that have to do with sidewalk rage dude? We walk or take subways(electric) genius, we are probably the least affected by gas and oil shortages.

      • DJ

        Well, just WHERE in H-E-double-hockey-sticks do you think we GET electricity,GENIUS?! From windmills? Magic green jelly beans? Algoron’s mouth?! Certainly, not very much of it comes from nukes, because idiot Lieberals believe that nukes can explode into mushroom clouds! So, we’re left to transport oil bought from Muslims who want to kill us (after they take our money) halfway around the world in rusty, barely seaworth third-world tankers to make electricity to power your electric trains .. GENIUS!

  • Travis

    To everyone commenting who obviously is not a foot commuter. Most of you have the exact same reaction when you are driving to work. you tail-gate or get angry when people are driving to slow in the fast lane, don’t check before changing lanes or are otherwise driving poorly. Why? You are trying to get where you are going efficiently.

    For most New Yorkers the sidewalk IS a roadway. We don’t drive, we walk everywhere we go. It IS our morning commute, or rush hour on the way home. Need to check your email on your phone? Cool, “Pull over” to the right side.

    Visiting the city? Easy. Treat the sidewalk as you would a roadway, slow to the right, stop by the buildings. Before you make an abrupt left or right look to see if someone is walking fast in the lane you are about to cross. Tourist money is appreciated, but if I come to where you live and drive like I’m clueless, you willl get irritated too.

  • Tony

    I like to see people I know and say hello and ask them how they are.

    • BullRoo


  • Matt Chappel

    Remember everyone… If you expect people to pay attention, and be mindful of their surroundings, you have “intermittent explosive disorder”… But if you’re a slow poke who’s in the way because you’re selfish and careless, you’re fine. LOL

    How backwards is that?

    • Eric

      Yep, the guys driving slowly in the fast lane are okay. The ones who get upset with them for doing so have the problem. Typical mainstream media logic. So glad I don’t waste money on their publications.

  • Veejones

    Leave it to new yorkers to over-think walking…I wish they’d put as much thought into customer service (they really suck at that). I love to travel to the city to spend my $, but I’m getting of tired of being treated like garbage while I’m there.

  • Steven NYC

    True story — I had to push my way through three people walking slowly, side by side, in Manhattan about two weeks ago. I said “excuse me” as I made my way through from behind. I heard one of them say softly, “Looks like he’s in a rush,” and he didn’t know I heard him. I turned around and said to him, “No man, I’m not in a rush at all. I just don’t walk like I’m in quicksand.” And I went on my way.

    The “problem” isn’t the people with so-called “rage.” It’s the idiots who walk slowly, stop in front of you, take up the whole sidewalk like those three winners, etc etc. And the phones, I call it the “zombie phone walk”: because these fools walk in a slow zig-zag like a brainless zombie looking down at their phones.

    So no, the “problem” isn’t the “walk ragers” but the fools who are inconsiderate enough to get the others angry. Stop halting progress and move your a$$.

    And don’t even get me started on when two slow moving side-by-side fatties are taking up the whole sidewalk.

    • Ray

      Anybody else notice certain demographic groups seem to be incapable at moving faster than a shuffle?

    • Rowwdy

      With jerks like you, we don’t need anymore wars…you and your bully buddies can probably start a war in downtown NYC. There is NOTHING so important that you have to knock someone over. Your arrogance will be your downfall.

      • Steven NYC

        That’s hilarious – the ones who simply want to get where they are going are “jerks” and “bullies” but the idiots who walk at a snail’s pace, stop in the middle of a sidewalk, talk in groups in the middle of a sidewalk, take up the whole thing walking three side-by-side, etc, they are all such good boys and girls.

        You are a mental case. You probably want to go on a shooting spree if the mail is a half hour late.

    • Moammar Qaddafi


  • J.V.

    Within a few years these slow walking cell phone addicts will be in motorized wheelchairs due to brain cancer and making their presence more noticably annoyingl by clogging our sidewalks while talking loudly about their plight.

  • starykozel

    If you put too many rats in the same container, they will bite each other as well….

  • Frank E

    If I see a slow walker up ahead of me I sneeze really loud and they usually move out of the way while giving me a weird look. If I feel someone walking faster than me about to overtake me, then, I put on the brakes or walk to the side they are walking just to irk them. I truly enjoy my walks.

    • Dan

      One day soon, I am sure we’ll all get the chance to rediscover the reason for manners. I will enjoy that as well.

  • Jay

    As far as I’m concerned all the A-holes of the world can migrate to NY and CA and stay there. You can spend all day long talking about how much smarter and better you are than the rest of us… And I will live my life in peace.

    • firsty

      Hey, we took the big hit for you.

      • ZHT

        And you will never let us forget it. Meanwhile, we have had more young men and women die overseas in military actions that were based on the “big hit” you took for us. What about them?

  • Eddie Reed

    This would be a non-issue if people just displayed a little common curtsey. If your going to stop on the side walk in a busy area, them move to the side (preferably next to the building). Some people are late and need to rush. Please, just be more aware of others around you. We can all do this, pleasantly if we all work together.

    • Michael Kriegel

      And if you’re late, leave ealier. Elbow or shove me and you’re liable to find yourself on your a$$.

      • Ray

        Everyone is tough on the internet. No one tough goes by “Michael.” You probably are a balding CPA with a wife who runs your existence.

    • firsty

      A curtsey would take up more room!

  • mac

    And some New yorkers profess to not understand why people from elsewhere in America despise them. Amazing, just amazing.

  • Russ Shackelford

    If I can’t walk down the sidewalk without being delayed by slack-jawed yokels, then the tourists have already won.

  • Ed Barfbag

    I go a step further…if they’re talking too loud, I tell them to shut their pie hole as I’m knocking them down.

  • teflonron

    Joke, right? OMG, more fodder to be used by politicians to micro-manage American life. Big Brother.

  • Broc

    I am an American living in China. Try the rage thing here, in car, on foot or bike and it will cost you, (as a foreigner), big time!

  • get bent !!

    This is the dumbest topic I have EVER seen discussed. The fast walkers here are the epitome of what is known as “rude New York”.

    Now that I know it’s an issue, I’m gonna gently stroll and perhaps lightly tap dance down the sidewalk when I see you fast walkers approaching.

  • WillK

    All you people complaining about tourists, perhaps we should tell them to take their cash to another city?! Personally, I think people who have a need to bully and push others around with their “aggressive walking” are very small and insecure. I have a disability and walk with forearm crutches. Some of us have difficulty walking. Did you ever think of that, I’ll walk at the pace that’s been forced on me. The next time you see someone walking at a pace unacceptable to you, think, maybe that person has difficulty, instead of being a selfish arrogant turd. It’s not all about you.

    • donttreadonme

      I like tripping up people who walk with canes or crutches. It is a real hoot to see them cartwheel over and down: tangential chaos. Confession absolves me of the sin and I am ready for a new week.

      • WillK

        LOL you need to be very careful who you try that little gag on, NANCY!

  • NYer

    It’s a sideWALK, not a sideSTAND! I don’t think I need to elaborate…

    • WillK

      We drive on a parkway and park on a driveway. I don’t think I need to elaborate.

  • Homeless in NYC

    I’m a homeless person always asking for spare change or a cigarette. I love the crowds in NYC. I get about $5 per hour and more during the holidays.

  • keith

    If you want to discuss rude A-holes crowding New York City; how about the people who get on the subways wtih fully-loaded backpacks that look better suited for a 6-week expedition of Everestt? And then the people who are riding already crowded subway cars who refuse to “Move in” at new stops, so you have empty areas of space towards the middle of cars with overly jammed areas of people near the doors. Just remember, “being a New Yorker is never a license to behave like an a-hole.” ‘Nuff said.

  • Dave

    I wish city walkers would treat sidewalks like what they are – roadways for two-legged vehicles. If someone was driving and decided to suddenly hit the brakes, would they be surprised if they got rear-ended by the car behind them? If someone decided to drive on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic, would they be surprised if they had a head-on collision? If someone came barreling out of a sidestreet into traffic would they be surprised if they got side-swiped? No – but how many times have I almost crashed into someone who decided to suddenly plant themselves in the middle of the sidewalk, or had someone walk right into me rather than (gasp) have to momentarily step behind the person they’re walking with, or had to swerve as someone came darting out of a doorway right into my path? Seriously folks, most of the sidewalks of NYC are a means of transportation. It’s fine if you’re out for a stroll or walking your dog or pushing a stroller – but just remember that you’re on an active roadway. Be considerate, stay to the right, leave room to pass, and you’ll never have to worry about inciting “sidewalk rage”. :)

    • Spence

      Dave-You’re exactly right in my opinion. Sidewalks should be treated as foot highways. You walk to your right and as you would drive and yes, you should be irritated at that small few who decide that they’re going to walk to their extreme left. And yes also to the irritation at the people who come to a dead stop in the middle of the sidewalk – but you forgot to add who then carry on a conversation while at right angles to the other pedestrians. Do they move off to the side to get out of the flow? Nope. But do they even stand face to face in the same direction as the pedestrians are moving? Oh NOOOOO – they have to stand across the path. When I can I like to walk right between them and then just dare them to make a comment. And also yes to your aggravation with the people who just throw open the shop doors and charge out onto the sidewalk! That’s the pedestrian equivalent of pulling into traffice from a side street – you look momentarily before you enter or throw the door open when someone on the street is just passing by at that moment.
      I also agree with the person who is irritated by the people who are walking one direction while looking in another. Usually it is at someone who they’ve passed and they’re looking behind them, so of course they aren’t watching where they’re going and, turned back over their shoulder, they are usually then walking at an angle on top of everything else. Honestly, if you want to stare at someone (and I’m betting that nearly 100% of the time, that person is NOt going to be looking back at you ogling them) then come to a complete stop and step off to the side as if you were on a scenic overlook on a hightway.
      So glad to here that there are others who share my exact same observations on inconsiderate sidewalk walkers!

  • vy

    To that commentor from Ohio:
    Think of the streets of NY as a farm irrigation system.
    If you need to increase the water going onto a field, and you can’t add additional pipes to the system, the only other way to do it is to get a bigger, stronger pump and turn up the water pressure to force more water though the system.
    NY City streets are so crowded with people, that we have to more faster than average or nothing would move.
    All those people squeezing through a limited space creates additional pressure.
    If you want a leasurely stroll try Central Park.
    No one will hurry you along there (as long as you’re not walking on the jogging track or roadways).

    • WillK

      People are sixty one point eight percent water by weight.

  • FedUp

    I work in NYC also and walk from 50th down to the PA Bus Terminal every day. What gets me are the tourists that seem to walk backwards –diagonally– and back into you as you are walking a straight line…AND THEN THEY GIVE YOU A DIRTY LOOK!!!! You have to walk the sidewalks like a cabbie drives the street to get around all the mayhem.

  • Floyd the barber

    Howdy folks,

    Why not just move out here to Ohio. If two people pass each other down one of our town’s three streets at the same time, its a virtual traffic jam!

    Of course we don’t have the advantages of the big city but after reading this article and many others about traffic congestion I am beginning to wonder if small town USA really is so horrible.

    • heatherfeather

      Small town USA won’t be burning when the federal government collapses under the weight of its unsustainable debt.

  • Rich Scorce

    maybe Bloomie should establish walking lanes,,,,those on the fast track, moderate walkers and then the window shoppers. then you can have smoking vs non smoking lanes,

    • Orange

      I’ve been saying this for ages now. We need sidewalk lanes.

  • Mary Ellen

    Lovely…….this weekend will be my first visit to the big apple. Please people mellow out—–or should I just leave my camera at home?

  • Mr. Armenia

    A lot of the non US citizens are cuasing the sidewalk problems being rude

    • tjs

      A lot of the non US citizens also laid the brick and foundation to this very city too.

      • Rowwdy

        But…they were LEGAL immigrants. Unlike all the illegals and expired visa holders.

  • NYC Cabbie

    I mostly drive, since i do it for a living. When I do have to walk, like to pick up some street meat for lunch, I f@rt on people in my way. Smell that dirty water dog through your SARS mask Xi Xou Dong!

  • smokersodysseycom

    The article didn’t mention smokers. Man, that has got to be the most disturbing of all.
    You’re in a hurry, and suddenly your pristine lungs run smack into a wall of nicotine. “Hack hack…cough cough!” That will tick off anybody. You stop, and try to
    fan the damned smoke away from you, speed up and get ahead of him, her. Keep
    at it, Mayor Mike!

    • Double

      Kitty Cat !

    • Chilli Dawg

      Yeah, like the bus that just blew by belching smoke wasn’t worse then smoke…stupid, get real….you are in NYC the whole place smells like a toilet

  • William Sinclair

    It’s rude to walk 2, 3, even 4 abreast. Rude to eander all over the sidewalk while cell-phoning. People should be aware of others around them. Hire sidewalk traffic agents.Give saunters.

    • WillK

      Sorry William, when I go out walking I have to bring both breasts. They’re not detachable.

    • Chilli Dawg

      STUPIDest idea ever…..side walk police? you must be joking? as if we need more overpaid union leeches on the streets of NY…how about just dealing with it and move on? sounds like a normal thing to do…or are you so important that you need a worthless cop to cry to when someone actually excersise their right to move freely? again…….you are STUUUUUPID!

  • Urine my way? No problem...

    I am a very fast walker (6’3″ long stride). If I see slowness ahead, I simply walk in the street, no need for rage.

    • Ron Thomski

      Until you get hit by a car. How would you feel about your great “take to the street” work-around strategy when you’re dead thanks to some slow poke?

      • Not to worry...


        I have working eyes and ears, and as such have never been hit by a car.

  • butnot

    Choose the wider avenues to walk up/down. For instance, Fifth avenue is twice as wide as Madison. I walk up Fifth avenue even though my office is on Madison.

    • Cathy

      Fifth Avenue has far more tourists to navigate around than Madison.

  • norbert

    Y’all need to take a stroll on over to Shenzhen. New York will seem like a charming town.

  • jim duggins

    warning to people walking on sidewalks. i will knock you down if you are not walking the same speed i am. take this as a warning. do not call the police or get mad at me when you get knocked down by me. because i have warned you. if you cant walk the same speed as me. do not go out and stay home.. or just move to a deserted island and walk slowly there, dont waste my time.

    • Dan Te

      Thanks for the warning….I never leave home without my Glock.

      • Rodin

        Dawn Ted, lways inspirational.

    • Courteous NYer

      jim, stand in front of a mirror and practice, “Excuse me, please”. That’s all it takes

    • tjs

      Unfortunately Jim you are on my side of the fence but way way over in the middle of the field. Your rationale is just a “tad” aggressive.

    • Big Steve

      Duggins, you are in a heap of trouble if you try to knock me down.

    • SeeCzarSalad

      HAY-ell, Jimbo, you’ve got all the makins’ of an Obama Czar!

  • Fred

    You can bet that the pharmaceutical companies will come out with a pill for “Intermittent Explosive Disorder” (IED).

  • jtorres

    I’m an aggresive walker and it drives me crazy when people ahead of me are strolling. You have nowhere to go? Get out of my way. I do. It’s invariably a tourist or worse, a group of them. Even if New Yorkers walk slowly or have to stop they know better than to do so in the middle of the street at the risk of being run down. They know to move to the “slow lanes” – by the buildings or near the curb. Tourists should be taught this lesson. Walking fast is a part of New York. You don’t like it? You can leave.

    • norbert

      the clock has to stop some time, friend. when you look back on your life, you might want to remember something more than being an ant in an ant farm.

      • JB

        Norbert, I’ll remember it by being successful in NYC.

    • vaginalvagina

      Who wants to visit your filthy city for anything other than late night bars and strip clubs? NJ is better, suck it NYC.

1 2 3 6
blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live