UPDATE: These texting lanes are not strictly meant for practical use, as originally reported. The stretch of sidewalk with a texting-only lane is located in a tourist area of Chongqing called “Foreigner Street” that features other amusing spectacles such as the world’s largest restroom, roller coasters, and a miniature version of New York City.
Texting while walking may not seem as dangerous as texting while driving, but both distracted actions are a hazard to pedestrians. To raise awareness of the risks of not paying attention while walking, a city in China recently created a smartphone sidewalk lane for those who can’t keep their eyes off their mobile devices.
The 165-foot stretch of pavement in the city of Chongqing is split in two by a line of paint: One side allows cell phone use at your “own risk”; the other side is marked “no cell phones.”
“There are lots of elderly people and children in our street, and walking with your cell phone may cause unnecessary collisions here,” property manager Nong Cheng told the AP.
Cheng got the idea from a behavioral experiment using similar sidewalk markers on the National Geographic Television show, “Mind Over Masses,” that was broadcast this past July.
Many pedestrians have been snapping photos of the new lanes but not using them. “Those using their cell phones of course have not heeded the markings on the pavement,” Cheng said, adding, “They don’t notice them.”