Why Turks Don't Walk on the Sidewalk

My friend Suzanne brought the issue to my attention years ago when we were out on my street and Suz suddenly headed towards the narrow sidewalk. I suddenly realized I never even really stepped on that sidewalk except when a fast car was driving by. Then after seeing my husband insist so many times that I walk on the not-exactly-existent sidewalk -and myself getting irritated many times- made me wonder why Turks don’t like sidewalks. Except when there is a serious road and serious cars whizzing by, on the little backstreets and alleys all around Turkey, we refuse to walk on the sidewalk. We walk on the part of the road that’s (supposedly) designated for cars. Cab drivers will have to honk at people sometimes, as these ordinary pedestrians are in the way with grocery bags in their hands, occupying the guy’s speed track (now that’s another issue).

And I realized that we don’t like to walk on the sidewalk because the sidewalk either

a- is non-existent
b- gets interrupted all the time, with constructions, small sandhills, piled coal in front of an apartment building as preparation for winter, parked cars, trucks unloading goods to grocery stores, friends who bump into each other, street vendors and whatnot.
c- i think cars parking on the road deserve another mention.
d- is too high and begins and ends too frequently where streets cross, so you have to go up and down too much.

Believe me i could find more of these reasons. But I think it gives an idea of why Turks have developed a negative response to sidewalks, or even why Turks never got used to sidewalks anyway. So don’t give me the why-do-you-walk-on-the-road look, foreigner friend, because now you know that we don’t have it as good as you do . . .


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