New Yorker Proposes Code Of Conduct For Pedestrians In The Big Apple

Real Estate Exec Robert Selsam Only Half-Joking About Fines Of Up To $100

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One New Yorker, stuck behind slow-moving tourists and clipped by others that bob and weave their way across Manhattan, has come up with a tongue-in-cheek “Pedestrians’ Code of Conduct.”

“There’s somebody walking slowly, that’s bad enough, but they cut you off every time you go around them,” said real estate executive Robert Selsam, who walks to work and is only sort of kidding with his pretend rules and fake fines.

Selsam’s rules cover every kind of annoying pedestrian.

In his world, zig-zagging gets you a $50 fine. Walking abreast merits a $100 fine per person. Standing too long in the crosswalk would set you back $75. Violating the “New Yorker Only” lane would be a $100 offense. Finally, bumping into someone would be a $50 fine.

“It be mad crowded; you can’t breathe,” pedestrian Daniella Brown told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

“People in groups taking up the entire sidewalk,” complained Amy Russell of Midtown.

Officials at the Department of Transportation said the city’s sidewalks are more crowded this year than at any time in the past five years. Since the creation of the Pedestrian Volume Index in 2007, sidewalks have seen an increase in pedestrian traffic of 13 percent.

“It’s not quite a crusade but I would love to see some directional lanes where you could walk in peace and get where you’re going,” Selsam said.

In his dreams, Selsam said he wants at least gets a New Yorkers-only lane. In reality, he knows these pedestrian headaches are here to stay. Still, he hopes the joke proposal raises awareness about sidewalk etiquette.

Should pedestrians in New York adhere to a code of conduct? Sound off in our comments section below…

More from Dave Carlin
  • TomNJ

    How about a code of conduct for NY drivers?

  • Gary L

    He sounds a lot like Michael Bloomberg and he’d fit in with the Bloomberg philosophy.

  • richard Allen

    YES if you are Black…dont wear Black clothes or ride a Black Bike and talk on your phone while crossing the street at night

    How the Helllllllllll can I see you???????

  • Jimmy

    How about excess breathing? We all exhale carbon dioxide into the air which contributes to Global warming. Put a breathing monitor on everyone and fine them one dollar for every breath over the daily limit.

    • Tibby

      Let me fine-tune that idea.
      How about slapping a fine on bad breath in buses, subways & cabs?
      You won’t even need a breathing monitor. Just check for people turning green.

  • CT Native

    What’s next, a proposed pedestrian DRESS CODE?

    • Tibby

      That would be nice…however, I’ll settle for no spitting.
      Fine: $100 or lick it off–your choice.

  • Jordan

    Interestingly, I started a blog about this long before the report on CBS. – Rather than be mad at Robert Selsam, however (for passing off my idea as his), I left him a Facebook message telling him I would raise my umbrella for him.

    It’s the least I can do. All of us fastwalkers need to stick together.

  • edlo

    i think people disrespect the red light given at crosswalks and causing major problem for cars turning or crossing, also there should be a lane in the middle of the streets in midtown so people get in order…no fines just order OK…

  • S.Dylan

    Yes, a code of conduct..and enforce what is there already! “People are supposed to walk to the right side.” They never do..they come walking towards you in a bunch, text messaging and busy on cell phones, and block your way. It’s not only tourists, it’s everybody. When you are in a wheel chair, they get nasty when you say “Excuse me” I don’t say it anymore, because the sidewalks and streets are so broken I have to look down at where I am going. That way, they don’t get to make eye contact and dare me to not stop, reverse or swerve. I don’t have to pay attention to what I don’t see. I just keep going, they can jump out of the way. Enforce and ban text messaging on streets and Bikes on sidewalks. I’M Tired OF being Cut off. I’m also tired of cyclists going the wrong way on bike paths and through red lights. Of course none of this would be necessary if people were just simply considerate of one another, but today, their self involvement is pathological and the self with whom they are involved is taking up space and air that could be better put to use by laboratory mice.

  • mr man


  • James

    Isn’t it bad enough that the Department of Traffic Parking Division is illegally violating the civil rights of Handicapped drivers from out of town by issuing their own private City of New York Handicap placard the super seeds all other Handicap placards and license place from other States and even other boroughs and New York State without a specific manhattan placard. Are we not good enough to have the same rights as New York City Handicap people to park on the street in a NO PARKING 8AM-6PM. Did the bill of rights that states that all americans shall have equal rights no matter where you shall live or has that been overridden by the DOT over the fact that they can make money by ticketing Handicap people. Does New York City the city that I was born in need the money that badly it will take it from Handicap people? It is a shame Mike that if a handicapped person can’t get back in time can get a $115 dollar ticket below 96th street there by maybe causing them to not get their medicine or food because the greed of the DOT would rather take their money then give them the same rights. I doubt you will print this and even highly doubt that something what be done to give the same rights to all. I think this story needs to be told, but who really cares the handicapped really can’t do anything about or find someone to take on city hall. So tell me Mike do all people deserve the same rights no matter where we come from or are manhattanites better than the rest of the country when they come to the city to shop or see their girlfriend or boyfriend. I would love to hear your answer

  • AMIT

    Well Why don’t ya just ban tourists from NYC ??? and by the way NYC people tends to build tall buildings like WTC and so someone feels to run planes in it or plant bombs in pillars….this leads to washington to go for war..where thousands of americans loose their lives…I bet those are not New Yorkers so WHY NOT JUST BAN CONSTUCTION OF TALL BUILDINGS IN NYC. ?????

    • matt

      Just shut up, you’re a moron. Way to take it to the extreme, idiot.

      • AMIT


        please to kiss my nether regions!

    • Bill

      You must be A$$WIPE in person!!!

  • avery T

    I just stay in TriBeCa.

  • Frank N Footer

    A staircase going into a subway station has a handrail in the middle separating the two sides. I cannot stand it as I am going up a flight of stairs, there’s ALWAYS some clown who goes down the same side against traffic.

    They see other people going down the other set of stairs but they are too stupid to follow them and wind up plowing into everyone else. This happens all the time.

  • Prescription Drugs

    Your post includes great tips and you managed to keep it simple and understandable.Your post have the information that is helpful and very informative. I would like you to keep up the good work.You know how to make your post understandable for most of the people.Thumbs up and Thanks.

    • Jordan

      ^^^ This guy was walking in front of me on the way to the subway today.

  • Allan Rosen

    Hi, Robert.

    A few weeks ago I was driving across an intersection waiting for a pedestrian to finish crossing the street who was taking his sweet time because he was texting as he was crossing unaware of his surroundings. Then he looks up and sees me waiting for him and gives me a look as if to say, “I’m almost finished. Just be patient.”

  • iggy

    please, don’t even joke like that. mayor-mikey will have his transportation secretary proceed with plans to the same effect.

  • Tibby

    Look…if you thought of pedestrian traffic like real traffic you’d change your perspective. If you’re not doing it in a car, don’t do it when you walk.
    In heavy traffic and on the highway you drive differently than you do on a country road or Death Valley.
    Situational awareness. Consideration. Good manners.
    Why is that so hard to comprehend?

  • D

    From these comments, it looks like there is more than enough rudeness and intolerance in NYC to go around.

  • bklyn

    Population is too danm high

  • Donnatella Soleil

    Or the jerks who try to walk through you. I just yell at them : HEY! IM NOT INVISIBLE AND YOU CANNOT WALK THROUGH ME!

    • Nutella Luna

      Too late, already did. Outtamyway!

  • dr

    For more than 10 years, I’ve been saying to friends there should be a “New Yorker only” pedestrian lane in midtown during the holiday season.
    I’d add a “no texting while walking” law too. How many people nearly walked right into me in the last week because their eyes were on their phones? And I’ve seen many people nearly hit by cars because they’re texting and crossing a street at the same time

    • Tuff Guy


      let the idiots walk into you, but check them hockey-style. They’ll smarten up after this happens a coupla times.

  • J.J.

    If empty sideswalks are what you want, move to Brattleboro, Vermont.

    • J.J.


  • Ken

    The city allows enormous outdoor cafes, junk “newspaper” bins, vendor carts, garbage bags, and even motorcycle parking on the sidewalks. Of course there is no room left for pedestrians.

    • jim

      I can’t understand why you would want to eat on the sidewalk.Dogs and homeless go to the bathroom in the street. The exhaust fumes from traffic. what good are restaurant ratings? If you eat in the street it defeats the purpose.It also takes up half the walkway

  • Deborah

    This is one of my biggest pet peeve, I’d love to have some sort of law passed for these slow walking lazy tourists/visitors who clog our side walks and city streets without consideration. They do not pay NYC exorbitant rents, maintenances and taxes. So why do they come and make our life so un- enjoyable? These slow walkers, gazers, and entrance cloggers should be fined. I am surprised Mayor Bloomberg hasn’t thought about this one yet. It is after all Mr Mayor our quality of life, and yours too that is interrupted. In NYC, time is money, and they owe me alot of money and you too. Besides, we could us that money for services that are being cut for children. I say we start a petition. I”m in!!!

    • Retired 44

      You seem to forget that these ‘Slow Walking Lazy Tourists/Visitors” patronize NYC hotels, restaurants, cabs, Broadway shows…Get the idea!. By the way, slow it down, you will live longer…

      • fact

        No, you seem to forget a little thing called consideration!!!!! I don’t care where you come from, its not acceptable to just stand in the middle of the sidewalk anywhere where people are trying to get by

      • real american

        their patronization doesn’t pay my bills, and as far as slowing down’ “I’ll rest when I’m dead

      • Danny

        That’s correct. Do you understand how much money the city makes through tourism? I guess you’d rather pay much higher taxes then deal with some tourists in the street. Get over it, it’s really not that bad. Stop giving New Yorkers such a bad name. Too many people suffer from delusions of grandeur here. Just relax.

      • Katie

        Um…NYC isn’t like the commercially-dead-but-beautiful cities of Europe that would fall to pieces without tourism. You’ll notice that Manhattan hotel rates are cheaper on weekends than weekdays because their real bread and butter is weekday business travelers.

        As much fun as it might be to go to the suburbs and torture the locals in little ways (mostly to do with parking), I figure you all have it bad enough just living there in the first place. Heh.

      • Retired 44

        To Fact,

        “Not acceptable to just stand in the middle of the sidewalk anywhere where people are trying to get by” Are you kidding? Nothing wrong with standing on the sidewalk. . Last I heard it’s still legal…My advice to you, just say excuse me, go on your merry way and get over it…

    • Stephen

      You are a selfish idiot!

      • fact

        look in the mirror Stevie

  • Tibby

    Let’s expand…
    * Double baby strollers blocking isles and narrow walkways–$100
    * Stopping right after getting off escalators, elevators and revolving doors–$200
    * Parking a grocery store cart/baby carriage right in the middle of an isle while looking.

    Don’t get me started…

    • confused

      100 bus trips a day just dropping off 50 people in the middle of the block, and they block the entire street off

    • deborah

      I hear ya!! It is an infringement on our quality of life…and lets not mention the stress.

  • John F. Hebert

    What about when they WALK in the bike lane. $250 fine.

    • true NYC

      Bikes on sidewalks $1,000,000,000,000

      • William

        That’s a GOOD ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! plus 10 years in Rikers :)

  • Garrett O'Brien

    These tourists should step aside when taking photos and not stand in the middle of the sidewalk. Or shove the camera up their wazoo’s

    • Katie

      I lived in Times Square for 8 years – tourists who stand in the middle of a crosswalk to take a picture deserve to end up on Darwin Awards.

      My personal favorite was having a couple of drunk women shout at me “we’re trying to take a picture here!” Sadly, I’m only trying to LIVE here. If I stopped for every tourist trying to take a picture I’d never get anywhere.

  • Nitro

    “It be mad crowded”…LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!

    • bklyn

      hear dat

  • Tibby

    About damn time!
    NYC is a crowded, busy, pedestrian town where walking is akin to driving in LA.
    Rules should definitely be imposed, and rude, clueless people fined for breaking them. Enough is enough!

  • DanTe

    Just slip an icepick up their spine and keep walking. Nobody will noticed. The slimes are walking slow and blocking everyone as it is. No surprise if they just stop…. dead.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live