Home Business Insights & Advice Four things to know as a pedestrian in London vs US cities (e.g. Houston)
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Four things to know as a pedestrian in London vs US cities (e.g. Houston)

by Sarah Dunsby
6th Dec 23 3:53 pm

Walking around London can be a very different experience from being a pedestrian in US cities, like Houston, New York or San Francisco.

So, if you are visiting London from the US for the first time, here are four things you should know.

1. London is easily walkable and has great public transport, unlike Houston

Houston in Texas poses challenges for pedestrians due to the city’s widespread urban sprawl. It also has much less public transport than London.

But in the English capital, walking long distances is common. Plus, there is excellent public transport that connects the city’s different areas. Indeed, many people who live in London do not drive because the bus and underground tube trains are so effective and reliable.

2. London does not have a grid layout like New York

Walking around London is very different from New York City and other American cities because their layouts differ so much.

City street layouts are sure to affect your walking experience. Unlike New York’s blocks and numbered streets, London is full of twisting alleys and cul-de-sacs that reflect its rich history. That often results in surprising turns that lead to hidden gems like pubs and parks.

On the other hand, New York’s grid system makes walking in the city predictable and easier to navigate.

3. London is generally flat, unlike hilly San Francisco

Although San Francisco is geographically smaller than London, its hilly terrain makes it a unique walking experience.

London has flat and manageable streetscapes, so if you are coming from a hilly destination like San Fran, walking around will feel much easier. However, you could find it more of a struggle to walk San Francisco’s streets upon your return.

4. Crossing the road in London is different to crossing the road in US cities

When crossing streets in London, remember to look the other way first, contrary to your instincts – as drivers in the UK drive on the left.

Crossing roads in London can also be a different experience to crossing roads in US cities because there are zebra crossings in the city and throughout the UK. These pedestrian crossings require vehicles to stop once a person steps on them.

Also, unlike numerous US cities where jaywalking is illegal, in London, it is generally not against the law. It is common for pedestrians to cross roads wherever and whenever they feel it is safe to do so.

However, you must make certain that roads are safe to cross before you do so, as London, like US cities, has a high rate of pedestrian deaths each year.

According to government statistics, 1,823 road accidents in London result in pedestrians, cyclists or two-wheeler riders being seriously injured, around 430 of which are killed. The pedestrian fatality rate in London is high when you compare it to some US cities.

In Houston, between 2021 and 2022, a total of 115 pedestrians were killed. In New York City, it is estimated that 300 pedestrians are killed each year. And in San Francisco, pedestrian deaths accounted for 48% of all road fatalities in 2021.

Having said that, the pedestrian injury rate in US cities generally, rather than fatality rates, tends to be higher than that of London and other UK cities.

If you are injured as a pedestrian, whether in London or Houston, remember that you are entitled to pursue compensation.

So, find reputable and experienced London or Houston personal injury attorneys who can help you navigate legal complexities and assist you in receiving the compensation you deserve.

Final thoughts

Now that you know a little about how being a pedestrian in London differs from US cities, you will be prepared to navigate the streets with confidence.

Conversely, if you are a Brit who is planning on visiting cities like Houston, San Francisco or New York, you will have a better idea of what to expect as a pedestrian.

And speaking of New York, you may be interested in the rise of smart serviced apartments in the city.

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