Temporary Texting Lanes Introduced to End Pedestrian Clash in Belgium

By Gary Cutlack on at

The Belgian city of Antwerp has taken a lead in the battle against low-speed pedestrian impacts by launching what it calls a "walking text lane" -- a special walkway for those who can't even stop looking at their telephones when off out to get some crisps.

The move has been introduced by local smartphone "lab" Mlab, which claims that many phone breakages are caused by people bumping into each other while cruising for free hotspots and texting their chums about what sort of coffee and boutique panini combination they're about to have.

Mlab explains: "You probably walk through the streets while texting or sending Whatsapp messages to your friends and don't really pay attention to your surroundings -- only to whatever is happening on your screen. This causes collisions with poles or other pedestrians. You could, unknowingly, even be endangering your own life while you 'textwalk' when you cross the street without looking up."

Unless you're looking at live bus timetable and traffic data, in which case you'll be perfectly safe. The texting lanes are described as being temporary, so it's likely to be a short-term stunt that'll end when it next rains rather than a new Belgian or EU-wide town planning safety initiative. [BBC]