Chinese City Opens Sidewalk For Mobile Phone Users

Sep 17, 2014 2 comments

Walking the streets in any major city today is a peril for pedestrians, not from cars, but from fellow pedestrians who are too engrossed on their smartphones to see where they are going. Despite warnings from authorities about the risk of texting while walking, scores of tech-addicts walk with their heads buried on their cell phones, forcing others to dodge out of the way to avoid collision. To make the sidewalks safer for elderly people and children, the city authorities in Chongqing, China, have designated a 100-feet stretch of sidewalk in busy entertainment district as “cellphone lane” for people who use their phones while walking. The sidewalk was split into two lanes – one labeled “No cell phones”, while the other reads “Cell phones. Walk in this lane at your own risk.”


Photo credit: China Daily/Reuters

The idea seems to have been inspired, in fact, directly copied, down to the stencils spray painted on the pavement, from a project by a television program on the National Geographic channel earlier this year, on Washington, D.C as an experiment into crowd behavior. That study found that only a few people changed which side of the pavement they walked on even after spotting the signs. No wonder, few people in Chongqing are taking the sidewalk seriously. Some were seen snapping pictures of the stencils and the blue sign that read “First mobile phone sidewalks in China”, probably to share them on social media sites. Many cell phone users engrossed in messaging or tweeting didn’t even notice the signs.

Mobile phone addiction is rampant in China, as it is worldwide. According to one recent survey by, a recruitment site, 80 per cent of the 10,000 white collar workers it polled admitted "severe addiction" to their phones. In the US too, injuries due to distracted walking are rising fast, with 1,506 recorded in US emergency rooms in 2010, up from 256 in 2005.


Photo credit: Associated Press


Photo credit: unknown


Photo credit: Associated Press

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Photo credit: unknown


Photo credit: Meixin.Co

via The Guardian and The Telegraph


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