As we get back to work and school I’d like to bring up something I talked about back in March of last year. We’ve talked about distracted drivers in the past, but what about distracted pedestrians?
Nowadays we have more and more people glued to their smartphones, texting or emailing, posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat while walking down a sidewalk or standing at an intersection waiting to cross. It’s bad enough when you ignore the “Don’t Walk” signals, you know, the flashing or steady red hand instead of the white stick figure that is the only signal indicating it’s safe to step off the curb. 78% of adults believe distracted walking is a serious issue but only 29% figure it’s a problem for THEM. Most of those surveyed think distracted walking is dangerous but about 1/3 were likely to do it anyway, confident in their multitasking abilities. There is a term associated with pedestrians who fall down stairs, trip over curbs, bump into other walkers, or step into traffic. They’re called “Deadwalkers”. You don’t want to be one of those. There’s actually a Dutch town that is testing traffic lights for distracted pedestrians. The system uses LED light strips embedded in the road and linked to the traffic lights at an intersection. If the test proves a success they plan to roll out the system to other Dutch towns and even use on bike lanes. Hey there City Council, there’s a way for Saskatoon to be a leader.