Distracted Pedestrians Are Just as Dumb as Distracted Drivers

Categories: Transportation
Thumbnail image for bikerphone.jpg
No, he won't be home for dinner.
Drivers seem to really take the brunt of criticism, especially in a pedestrian-friendly city like San Francisco, where motorists and cyclists have more tension than a unhappy married couple.

But here's some news you could use: Motorists aren't the only ones guilty of texting, playing video games, and looking anywhere but at the road in front of them. Distracted pedestrians are apparently just as problematic.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the number of distracted walkers treated at emergency rooms across the nation more than quadrupled in the past seven years, the Associated Press reports. What's more, there's been a 4.2 percent increase in the number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents, though there's no information on how many of them were playing Angry Birds or listening to headphones at the time of their death.

The problem is a tricky one, and local governments aren't quite sure how to warn walkers that there's a pole right in front of them; some have tried to post signs telling pedestrians to "look up," but we're guessing that's not really effective, since most pedestrians are probably looking at their phone as they pass by that sign.
 
Over in Utah, officials tried to make it illegal for anyone to use headphones, cellphones, or any other electronic device while crossing the light rail tracks on city streets. However, the state Legislature nixed that idea -- polygamy sounds like a much better idea. Likewise, New York and Arkansas couldn't get bills passed to curb distracted pedestrians.

Here are some stellar examples of distracted pedestrians who were treated at hospitals for their very short-attention spans. Which one best describes you?

  • A 24-year-old woman who walked into a telephone pole while texting;

  • A man who was walking along a road when he fell into a ditch while talking on a cellphone;

  • A 12-year-old boy who was looking at a video game when he was clipped by a pickup truck as he crossed the street;

  • A woman texting while she walked through a Philadelphia shopping mall fell into a fountain directly in front of her.

Then there's the pedestrian on pedestrian crime:

  • A 67-year-old man walking along the side of a road was hit a by a bicyclist who was talking on a cellphone as he rode.

So here's the harsh reality: Psychological studies have shown that most people (that's you) cannot focus on two things at once. That means you can't ride your bike along the Embarcadero while making a Words with Friends move.

Here's proof:
 

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4 comments
doogiehowsah
doogiehowsah

Erin's got it right. The other day I was crossing the street and looking at my cellular telephone, when I stepped outside the crosswalk and bumped into a Range Rover. All 7 of the occupants were killed instantly, including a 3-year-old child and a kindly grandmorther. Why is it only drivers take the brunt of criticism, when distracted walkers like me, arrogant in our overwhelmingly pedestrian-oriented cityscape which clearly gives us the advantage, cause the vast majority of deaths and injuries?

 

Also, gays discriminate against Christians.

mrericsir
mrericsir topcommenter

When you walk while distracted, you only endanger yourself.  When you drive while distracted, you  endanger many other people.

Guest
Guest

 @mrericsir And if a bicyclist or car has to swerve to avoid you, how did you not put that driver, cyclists, and others in danger?

mrericsir
mrericsir topcommenter

 @Guest If they're not looking where they're going, that's hardly my fault.  Pedestrians are not responsible for poor drivers.

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