When authorities in Chongqing city realized that they’re never going to be able put a stop to texting while walking, they decided to go for minimizing the risk instead. So they set up a special lane for pedestrians who are hopelessly addicted to their mobile phones.
The lane was created on Foreigner Street – a tourist hot-spot in Chongqing – in order to reduce collisions. So the sidewalk is basically divided into two halves – one labeled ‘cell phones, walk at your own risk’ and the other marked ‘no cell phones’.
“There are lots of elderly people and children in our street, and walking with your cell phone may cause unnecessary collisions here,” said Nong Cheng, spokesperson for the district’s property management company. She also hinted that the initiative was meant to be satirical, to highlight the dangers of texting and walking.
Although the idea sounds great, I wonder if texters would actually care to look up from their phones to even see the signs. Turns out, the new arrangement hasn’t gone unnoticed. Many pedestrians are apparently finding the signs amusing, so they’re stopping to take pictures to share on social media websites. Unfortunately, Cheng says that even though they do notice the signs, most people aren’t following the guidelines.
The inspiration for Chongqing’s ‘texters’ lane’ actually came from an experiment conducted by National Geographic in Washington D.C. – they divided a sidewalk in half, reserving one lane for texters. The experiment was part of a TV series called Mind Over Masses.