The Pedestrian Distraction…

As a Port Moody REALTOR I’m constantly driving out and about in the Tri-cities and surrounding areas, and while doing so, I get to make many interesting observations.

One that is truly bothersome is pedestrian safety being compromised when distracted by the use of mobile devices.

On January 1, 2010, the laws were changed in BC to ban the use of text-messaging devices and cell phones in vehicles while driving or riding a bike.

This ban was probably expedited with an increased trend of driver’s texting while driving and the resulting increase in accidents.  Also as a result of studies claiming that drivers using cell phones while driving are as bad as drunk drivers.

After mobile phones were first commercialized in 1973, Walkman’s came to the market in 1979, followed by iPods in 2001.  Smart phones reached a wide market with the introduction of the BlackBerry in 2002, and in 2007 mobile web browsing was revolutionized by the iPhone with its intuitive touch screen.

The widespread and growing use of these technologies over the past almost 40 years, has in my opinion resulted in a compromise to general public safety.

I can’t tell you how many times I see pedestrians walk right out into an intersection completely oblivious to their surroundings, and this is not just younger people.

The “walk” and “don’t walk” signs have become almost meaningless.

Granted it has been a long time since I attended infant school, but I remember as a child having to recite from what was called, the Highway Code.  It went something like this:  “When you come to the curb halt. Look right, look left and look right again, if the road is clear, quick march but don’t run.”

When I immigrated to Canada I had to re-learn how to cross with traffic coming on opposite sides of the road, but the point is that I had been educated as a youngster on the responsibility of being a pedestrian; I think this is a good idea.

While smart phones give us the ability to call for help, check-in, etc., if we want to stay in control of our own safety we must also avoid risky behaviour as pedestrians, such as talking with friends, listening to music, and text messaging.

Being unaware of our surroundings is an accident waiting to happen.

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