While people are constantly being reminded to put away their smartphones when driving, there are very few warnings when it comes to being engrossed in them whilst walking. Now the Chinese city of Chongqing, has come up with a novel way to highlight the issue, by creating a special 'texters' lane.
The 50-meter (165-foot) stretch of pavement that is divided into two halves - one labeled "cell phones, walk at your own risk" and the other marked "no cell phones", is located at the city's Foreigner Street, a theme park that is known for its wacky collection of "all the best of what ain't from China".
Among the attractions that draw in thousands of visitors every day, are recreations of international landmarks that include a miniature New York City, the Venetian Canals and even a 150-meter (492-foot) replica of the 'Great Wall of China', which made the cut even though it is not foreign.
The officials, who painted the two lanes in mid-September, say they got the idea from a similar experiment that National Geographic conducted in Washington DC, in July 2014, for an episode of their upcoming series, "Mind over Masses".
So did pedestrians respect the signs and follow them in either case? Unfortunately not. According to the National Geographic, most people were too busy with their cell phones to notice the temporary pavement demarcation. Those that did, either chose to ignore it or followed it for a short while. However, they soon became absorbed in their cell phones and veered off to the 'no cell phone' zone without even realizing it.
Though the visitors to Foreigner Street do notice the special lane, they seem to treat it like a wacky addition to this unusual park and do exactly what park officials are encouraging them not to - immediately pull out their cell phones to take pictures and share with friends.
While distracted cell phone walking may not appear dangerous, a 2010 study performed by researchers at Ohio State University revealed that it had resulted in over 1,500 severe injuries - ranging from people falling off walkways or bridges to walking into oncoming traffic! Something to keep in mind the next time you pull out your mobile to look at an 'urgent' text or message, whilst walking or cycling to school!
Resources: travel.cnn.com, odditycentral.com, phonearena.com, washingtonpost.com