Philadelphia officials drafted a safety campaign aimed at pedestrians who look at their devices instead of where they’re going. “One of the messages will certainly be ‘pick your head up’ — I want to say ‘nitwit,’ but I probably shouldn’t call them names,” said Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation and public utilities.
As an April Fool’s Day joke with a serious message, Philadelphia officials taped off an “e-lane” for distracted pedestrians on a sidewalk outside downtown office buildings.
Some didn’t get that it was a joke.
“The sad part is we had people who, once they realized we were going to take the e-lane away, got mad because they thought it was really helpful to not have people get in their way while they were walking and texting,” Cutler said.
‘WalkNText’ – iPhone/Android App
Product Description (from its producer):
“Smart walk and text gives you the advantage of texting while you are walking. Through transparent screen you can see what is ahead of you and you can avoid stumbling and falling. In this application, you can send SMS and receive SMS .The whole application works is transparent, so you can use this application while you are walking.”
Product Review (from a fan):
“Now you can finally become the master of your own domain and confidently walk and text (simultaneously) whenever, wherever you want… It’s perfect for people like me who trip over their own two feet on a regular basis. ….If you don’t want to eat the concrete while you are walking… get the WalkNText app for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android smartphone.
I’ve compared this app to similar ones, and it’s the best one of its kind for many reasons. First of all, it has a transparent keyboard which allows for a much larger viewing space (if you don’t want the transparent keyboard, with one click, you can switch back to the built in keyboard). So whatever your style is; you can truly type and walk without being nervous at all.”
A young man talking on a cellphone meanders along the edge of a lonely train platform at night. Suddenly he stumbles, loses his balance and pitches over the side, landing head first on the tracks. Fortunately, no trains were approaching that Philadelphia-area station at that moment. The man recovered his balance and climbed out of danger. Security cameras captured the whole incident and the images were sent to The Associated Press. The risks of distracted walking are getting everyone’s attention.
Hospital emergency rooms in the U.S. treat an increasing number of injured pedestrians. The cases include:
- a 24-year-old woman who walked into a telephone pole while texting
- a 28-year-old man who was walking along a road when he fell into a ditch while talking on a cellphone
- a 12-year-old boy who was looking at a video game when he was clipped by a pickup truck as he crossed the street
- a 53-year-old woman who fell off a curb while texting and lacerated her face
- a 67-year-old man walking along the side of a road was hit a by a bicyclist who was talking on a cellphone as he rode