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July 8, 2012

Walking & Texting - do we really need to help people do that?

(Thanks to IntoMobile)
You've seen it if you've walked around the streets of any downtown area, no matter where you live: some people are so tied to their mobile phones that they're walking down the street, eyes locked onto their phones as they're texting madly away. Maybe you've been lucky enough to be bumped into by one of these people. Or been even luckier and seen them walk into a lamp post.

That would be funny.

Different cities are taking different tacks on addressing the issue of increasing injuries to those who walk and text. Some in the UK, as shown in the picture, are trying to safeguard them by padding their posts. Other municipalities in the US are making it illegal.

(If you see a ghostly hand, please see a doctor)
Industrious mobile app-makers are capitalizing on this growing trend. Taking advantage of the phone's camera, these apps show the ground in front of you while you're texting.

Is this really something that we should encourage? Part of walking around on a street is not just watching what's in front of you so you don't run into things. It's paying attention to your entire surroundings. Knowing if somebody's walking up a bit too close behind you. Or swerving over into your path because they're either drunk or because *they're* walking and texting at the same time.

What is so important to text somebody that you can't just stop for a moment and send a quick text, and then resume your walk? If you're going to have a conversation with somebody via text, then stop and have a coffee. Or just periodically stop and move to the side when you have to respond.

This just smacks of the self-absorption that our society seems to be wallowing in. People who are walking and actually paying attention have to either run into you or walk around you because you're too wrapped up in yourself and your texting to actually be courteous to other people walking with you.

Unless you are holding your phone up to eye-level while you're texting, the camera will just be showing the ground directly in front of you. It won't show somebody ten feet away from you who is approaching you. If you see the base of a lamp post show up in your camera, you will have very little time to swerve out of the way or stop. If you swerve, most likely you'll move right into the path of another walker. It will show you the curb you're about to step off of, but it won't show you the traffic coming either way.

I'm torn a bit on whether it should be made illegal. There is a lot of pedestrian behaviour that is truly annoying an inconsiderate that I wouldn't go so far as to make illegal. And while injuries do occur while walking/texting, it's rare that these injuries are to anybody but the idiot doing it in the first place. So it's not like distracted driving, where you could easily kill somebody else, or multiple somebodies, with your carelessness.

It is another example of an inconsiderate society, whose members really need to grow up and actually experience the world around them.

It's a beautiful world to actually look at. If you can get your nose out of your phone. At the very least while you're walking in it.


  1. Boy did you let them have it. YAH. Won't do much good but it;s sure true. I get tired of looking at everyone with a phone in their hand or earbuds in their ears. It would be nice to see what's around you when you are walking. I'm sure lots will agree with everything you wrote.

  2. LOL thanks, Mom. :)

    I don't have a problem with them having their phone in their hands (I do that all the time) or earbuds. That's not a major issue.

    It is when they're walking, though. And driving, of course.

  3. Okies, you know I still don't have a smart phone. But I DO text. A lot. I don't, however, do it whilst out walking in crowds. That's just plain irresponsible and arrogant. I find the spongy protective wrapping on the street poles to be both hilarious and ridiculous. If someone is that into their cell phone that they walk slap into an immovable object, they deserve the resulting bruises! Seriously, anything on your phone really can wait that extra few minutes until you're sitting down and not likely to inconvenience others with your distraction. knew this would get me, right Dave?! Ill manners are ill manners. And they're always going to be wrong in my book. :)

    - Dawnie

  4. Wow, this tells me that I really need to start blogging again. LOL

    Yeah, I had a feeling this would get you. :)

  5. I beg to disagree with the new idea of making the phone transparent for the benefit of the person who is walking/texting. It only shows that we encourage people with a not so good behavior. This will only cause accidents in the streets.


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