Lights To Be Installed On The Ground At Intersections So Phone Zombies Don’t Have To Look Up!
I’m not usually a Debbie-Downer but this latest trial from the TAC has me thinking the end of the world is fast approaching. You see, it seems we’ve become so obsessed with our phones these days that we can’t actually take the time to stop- for a second or two- to look up from our screens to check that it’s safe to cross the road. In fact the TAC is of the opinion that instead of encouraging people to put their phones away we should just install lights- on the footpath- so we don’t even have to look up anymore!
In an Australian first trial, the flashing lights will be installed on the edge of a crossing to warn people that a busy road is coming up. The 2 month trial will cost $12,000 and the first set has already been placed in Melbourne on the corner of Little Collins and Swanson streets.
The lights were put near the Town Hall in the week before the Melbourne International Comedy Festival because of increased night-time foot traffic the event brings.
The lights will be on 24 hours a day and while not particularly bright in the day time it is hoped that they will reduce the number of collisions between pedestrians and vehicles.
TAC chief executive Joe Calafiore said 2,500 people were injured as pedestrians in the last five years with about 40 pedestrians killed each year.
The raised markings are synchronised with traffic signals to glow green or red, and to flash red when the signal is amber.
“We’re trying to get the attention of people who are reading their mobile phones or are otherwise occupied, walking on our footpaths and not being aware that the road is right in front of them,” Mr Donnellan said.
The same initiative has already been successful in South Korea and parts of the Netherlands.
“This is trying to focus on those incidences when people are reading their mobile phone, it’s dark or towards the end of the day, this will light up,” he said, “but during the day this will also flash, so you will see it out of the corner of your eye anyway.”
Look, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about saving lives but don’t you agree this is a bit much? It’s like we’ve given up as a society and have accepted our fate- that we are all turning into zombies who are at the mercy of technology. I am definitely not one to preach as I too have an unhealthy obsession to always be connected to my phone but even I know my limits. Pray tell – what are you possibly doing on your phone while at an intersection that can’t wait until you actually cross. Go ahead, tell me, I’ll wait.
Nothing! That’s what! Chances are we’re either on social media liking or disliking photos of our friend’s food or we’re answering a text or email that I’m positive can wait 60 seconds! Why don’t we juts go the full hog and put bubble wrap around poles. Cause God knows I’ve seen enough people bang into them as they text furiously while walking. Or how about putting those barriers up like you have at bumper-bowling to stop pedestrians aimlessly walking onto the road while distracted on their phones. Or is that going too far? Cause lights on the footpath sounds perfectly normal?!
You know what the real danger is? Drivers who text while driving! I see it every single day and I find myself honking my horn and telling them off every chance I get. One time I noticed a driver next to me not even look up once as we drove side by side. She spent nearly a full 30 seconds with her head down! How on earth is she going to find the time to stop suddenly if a child appears in front of her on the road?
How about a law stating all mobile phones must be in your boot while driving. Back in my day (cause you know I’m ancient like that) we drove, and shopped and walked around with no phones. We waited at the doctors and at bus stops without phones. No-one could contact us and we had no way of contacting anyone to tell them we’re on our way. And guess what? We survived! We really did! So if you ask me- do we need lights on the footpath to warn us of oncoming traffic – I say F no! What we do need is the ability to disconnect so we can reconnect with our surroundings.