Why so many sirens?

As someone who hasn’t left the flat in over 3 weeks, I was becoming increasingly alarmed at the frequency of sirens throughout yesterday and last night, which sounded like someone was being taken to Lewisham hospital every 15 minutes. When I was forced to venture out for the first time today, the only vehicle with a siren I saw was a police car, which gave me some hope that most of what I was hearing these past 3 weeks might have just been police cars. For those who have been outside everyday, are most of the sirens from police cars or ambulances (or is it pretty split)? Thanks!

I’m afraid from my daily walk I have noticed many more ambulances as usual where we live they seem to be heading to kings.
There’s been a lot more cars on the road the past few days so that may be why you’ve heard the sirens more.

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Sadly agree with maxrocks. I’ve only been out in 30 minute stints every other day and most of the time hasn’t been along a main road but think I’m still seeing 2-3 per trip going past the Horniman in the direction of Kings.

There is also the added possibility that with less traffic on the roads ambulance journeys are faster, so they might be doing more of them / getting to people and to hospital faster than normal and you also see them more on that basis - pure conjecture on my part. No doubt the current situation is contributing of course.

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Oh dear - thanks all for confirming what I had feared.

By the way, I will not be venturing outside again for a long time. Brockley Road was the busiest I had ever seen pedestrian-wise, and because it is a busy road with loads of barriers up, it wasn’t feasible to step onto the road to avoid people.

The “lock down” in this country is a joke. People should not be allowed out every day to exercise. Who ever really exercised every single day before this all started? Hardly essential. No wonder there were so many sirens carrying people which, from what I understand, must have been infected just over 2 weeks ago i.e. AFTER this supposed “lock down” was put in place. This government is criminally reckless.

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I totally agree (as someone who exercises maybe once a month).

BUT if the government tried to confine people to their homes, it would cause huge resentment, perhaps even social unrest.

Also, the police wouldn’t have a hope in hell of enforcing such a lockdown.

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Yes, but other countries have imposed stricter lock downs without social unrest (and I don’t just mean police states like China).

And I agree it would be hard to enforce, but so are the current restrictions, so don’t think that’s a good argument against going further.

And whilst it would be difficult to widespread enforce, it would at least change the expectation and culture about what is and is not acceptable. I feel like the current restrictions almost ENCOURAGE people to go out exercising every day. There are tons of people walking up and down my HOP street who I have never seen about before - they are probably from some part of Forest Hill or Brockley up to 2 miles away and are power walking around in couples like this is some sort of adventure.

Yes it’s unlikely you’ll catch corona just walking past someone but if you walk past 60-70 people in an hour’s walk around the wider neighbourhood then your chances of giving it to someone or catching it, and therefore prolonging this nightmare we are all in, significantly increase.


If you enter the slipstream of someone who has the infection (even if they aren’t showing symptoms) you can catch it. The slipstream of runners is much more than that of walkers. The two metre rule only works for people standing still.

Details on a scientific white paper I linked to on the runners keeping a safe distance thread.

Weather conditions also affect safe distancing.

Hay fever season will be interesting with all that sneezing about.


My husband and I reckon the ostentatious runners now pounding our pavements fall into three categories.

  1. Those who usually exercise in gyms and can’t be arsed to go to the parks, plus have a showing off “look at me, I’m worth so much more than you in so many ways because I’ve got all the gear” attitude.

  2. Those who simply must exercise because after all they usually get a lot of exercise by getting on a train to the office and sitting at a desk all day and maybe walking to the pub of an evening and that’s exercise innit? So they’re the ones that look as if they’ll burst a blood vessel any minute and end up catching the virus in A&E.

  3. Those who genuinely want to exercise but have convinced themselves they haven’t had time before. And I wish them well, I really do. Maybe they’re the minority (and sadly it is a minority, because my husband’s always very surprised when it happens when he’s on his daily walk) who do make room for others. But I do wish they’d run in parks instead.

In all three cases if they’re using the pavements as a running track or gathering in groups in parks they’re not concerned that their actions could kill someone. Or maybe they’re the exercise equivalent of flat Earther’s, who don’t believe in science and think all this spluttering and sweating makes them immune.

I know I sound harsh but they’re making it impossible for the rest of us to venture out at all now and remain safe. I hope they think on this on Thursday evenings if they’re tempted to go out banging their saucepans. They are a major part of the problem and all the clapping in the world won’t atone for that.


I love seeing people out running. It’s wonderful. And without the clouds of pollution, constant aircraft noise and nitrous oxide gas from the cars/buses.

Sadly, I feel like this whole lockdown nonsense is going to cause more deaths than it saves and lower the life expectancy of the population as a whole.

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My point is that it needs to be in the appropriate place, so that they don’t endanger others. If they’re fit enough to run then surely they’re fit enough to walk to one of our many parks where they have the space to run without endangering others?


My chosen form of exercise is running and was before the COVID crisis. I don’t have all the latest gear and I’m not super fit. I like to think that I’m a courteous runner. It also helps with my mental health - I had a breakdown over a year ago and getting back into running is part of my recovery… then social distancing and the lockdown happened, which isn’t great for my recovery but that’s another story. I don’t fit in to any of your 3 categories.

There are more runners and walkers outside right now. I agree with you that the new runners fit into one of your three categories. Also people can’t travel beyond their ‘zone’ therefore those that would typically drive to the country or beach are staying local for their walks.

I usually run through parks, there are two on my usual route, but the parks are dangerous because I find it difficult to avoid people. There are people walking their dogs on long leashes; children running directly into the path of others, and those that decide to have a chat with their neighbours in the middle of the path. And those ‘look at me’ runners with the latest gear!! The grass areas are fill with people sunbathing or playing football. The roads I run are quiet, there are hardly any people walking about. I avoid the busy traffic roads (there were a lot of cars this weekend) therefore I can easily run onto the road if needed.

I get it, you hate runners. But it’s not just runners at fault and you don’t know people’s stories. Cyclists, walkers, couples and families taking the full width of the path, old, young, … etc etc. We all need to do our bit to keep ourselves and others safe. This new way of living is difficult to get use to, the lockdown is only 3 weeks old. I find myself falling back into my usual habits or absent-mindedly walking within the 2 metre distance of someone. It’s getting better out there, I’ve noticed more runners practicing social distancing.

And that is my TED talk. Keep safe. x


A lot of people who live here don’t have gardens or even much of a balcony. No outdoor exercise means not going outside at all. If you have a garden consider yourselves very very lucky and use that.

A lot of low income families and young flat sharers will be living in cramped conditions, sometimes with no little or communal space.

Finally, a lot of people, us included, do not have a car and don’t want to use online delivery slots better used for more vulnerable people so are combining exercise with trips to get food.

Don’t be so quick to judge others who may be living in very different situations from you.


It’s a tough call actually. The parks, even though they have more room, are still busy with groups of families walking, kids learning to cycle or rollerblade. They are all equally trying to social distance but it’s still likely to mean you are passing more people than if you live in a reasonably quiet residential area. The other bizarre thing about the parks is that we’re all seemingly wedded to the idea that we can’t walk (or run) across the grass which leads to huge expanses of green space lying unused while people endeavour to keep 2m away on the far busier paths surrounding them.

In other countries, they have cordoned off some roads so that there’s more space for walkers/runners/cyclists while there’s less traffic. Bear in mind that most of us don’t live right on the doorstep of a park, so while they might be doing the majority of their exercise in a park, they are likely to have to run along a pavement to get there.

The best answer I’ve found personally is to walk to/from the park using it as a warm-up/cooldown and try to choose a time which is less likely to be crowded (so early morning or the last hour before the park closes) - and I’m trying to choose routes with pavements that tend to be wider or aren’t ‘on the way’ somewhere or don’t have lots of parked cars so there’s an option of stepping into the road if required. I still find my biggest bugbears are couples/pairs out walking who have no sense of the fact that they take up the entire pavement and have seemingly no awareness that single file when they approach someone would be preferable.


No sorry Beatrix but you don’t get it. I don’t hate runners. But I do loathe people who don’t care about the safety of others. I’m glad to hear you do but please don’t misrepresent me. I can’t go out even onto my street because it’s now too busy. It’s not usually so. I can honestly say I cant ever remember seeing a runner here before the very minor partial lock down was imposed.

I can take evasive action when there are walkers, but I can’t avoid those runners who don’t make an effort to accommodate other people and sadly that is the majority.

Those long leads that people use with dogs are a menace, as are people texting while walking and families that string themselves out over a huge area and don’t control their children. But by far the greatest danger here is now coming from inconsiderate runners.


Quite. People shouldn’t judge me. I don’t have a garden. Just a small courtyard and a balcony and I know I’m lucky to have that. People like me and those in flats without balconies need to go out to stretch our legs but it’s being made too dangerous for us to do so.

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We don’t get each other. I thought perhaps emoting why I run and what steps I take to practice social distancing could help us all understand each other and give you an insight as to why parks aren’t the best for exercising beyond walking.

You may not think you’re coming across as being anti-runners but you are. I still think you’re grouping all runners into the same category, inconsiderate. As someone that does run on a regular basis it’s not the majority of runners that aren’t playing by the rules. During my 5km run, from Forest Hill through to Catford and back, I only encountered one runner that wasn’t keeping her distance and her friends gave her a telling off when she caught up with them. My biggest problem was couples and families not walking single file not just for runners but for others out walking. As I said, I’ve noticed a vast difference in people’s behaviour this weekend, not just runners, for the better.

I’m sorry that you that you don’t feel you can leave your house and I wish that wasn’t the case. There are times when I feel I can’t leave my flat for the same reason. I just wish that could you could see beyond those inconsiderate runners.


I wish all runners were as thoughtful as you, then I’m sure we wouldn’t have issues an everyone’s human rights and safety would be respected. We all have our different experiences.

Keep safe.


Personally if I wasn’t allowed out my house every day to exercise (which for me is taking a long walk) I would go utterly crazy and be even more depressed about the current situation-one of the joys I get each day is walking and hearing birdsong and seeing the sky.
As I mentioned in my much earlier original post I do feel compromised by the many joggers and cyclists on the pavement ignoring local distancing.
I wish we would make it the law that Joggers can only jog between say 6am-8.30am and 7.30pm-10pm which surely would be no hardship in these warmer longer days.
this would therefore leave the pavements clearer for less sprightly older people (like me) to take some air in relative safety


You mean something a bit like Paris perhaps: