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China Introduces 'Mobile Phone Lanes'

No Need To Watch Your Step, Just Your Phone

We have all found ourselves in this situation, walking down the street, totally engaged in our phone and not looking where we are going. This situation ends with you either dodging someone at the last minute or just walking into a pole you had not seen. This is an increasing problem for pedestrians and could even be fatal. What if you don’t see that car coming because you’re answering a text? What if you don’t notice that person about to run into you because you’re too busy Instagramming your shoes?

China sees the potentially dangerous situations texting and walking can cause. In response to this growing problem, it has come up with a unique solution: mobile phone lanes. We are all familiar with cycle lanes, reserved for cyclist, but mobile phone lanes are an innovative idea.


In Chongqing you can now find painted on the pavement two separate lanes. One reads 'cell phones walk in this lane at your own risk' and the other 'no cell phones'. The message is clear: if you are walking and taking in your surroundings without checking social media, the no cell phone lane is for you. If you happen to stray too far towards the other lane, you then run the risk of bumping into one or more angry cell phone users. As for the people who cannot go a minute without checking their phone, the cell phone lane is a great solution. No need to check where you are going, you can walk around, looking at your phone without worrying about other people.

According to Chinese officials, this idea was developed to remind tourists to not walk while using their phones and is located in the most touristic street in the city. It seems that this lane has the opposite effect. With a mobile phone lane at their disposal, why would the smart phone addict put down their phone when they can walk safely and without causing road accidents in this lane? Especially since China's smart phone adoption is ever increasing with an estimate of half a billion users, more and more cities may need to copy this idea to keep pedestrians safe.

At the moment, the phenomenon is exclusive to Chongqing and only on a 100 foot pavement, but could it spread to the rest of China, and then to the rest of the world? There are other less drastic solutions to this problem available to the smart phone addict. Android has an app that lets you text while walking, by making your text screen transparent so you can see where you are going. But the other, less painful solution is to put down your phone altogether and wait before answering that text.


Laura is a recent graduate from University of East Anglia in Film and Television Studies, currently interning as a content writer but hoping to one day live off her writing. Follow her @LauraAtSMF.

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China Introduces 'Mobile Phone Lanes' Reviewed by Laura Veit on Thursday, September 18, 2014 Rating: 5
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