Mobile phones have long been a major cause for accidents on roads, not just among drivers, but also pedestrians. That’s why several cities are laying special footpaths to allow smartphone addicts to keep staring down and just look up when crossing the street.
Footpaths just for people who can’t tear their eyes from their smartphones are no longer a speculated element in future cities, but are now a reality in some urban spaces.
China’s south-western city of Chongqing has had one since 2014 and the Belgian port city of Antwerp followed not long after.
Now there’s also one in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, a 300-metre-long path where “Smombies” (smartphone zombies) can wander along gazing at their devices without endangering other road users, with white arrows or red lines to guide the way.
The path is supposed to illustrate the importance of software engineers in the everyday life of the 550,000-strong city, as well as advertising its IT sector with the aim of attracting skilled workers.
At the beginning of October, the Lithuanian government made it illegal for pedestrians to use their phones when crossing the road.
The Auto Club Europa (ACE) says smartphones are the third largest cause of traffic accidents – after alcohol and speeding.
Pedestrians are sometimes so distracted by them that they fail to notice cars and even trams, or traffic lights, ACE said last year. – dpa
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