Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Unsafe Text on London Streets

Two blondes walk into a building ... you'd think one of them would've seen it.

Okay, that was a joke. This isn't -

Brick Lane has been branded an accident blackspot - for clumsy mobile phone users who crash into lamp posts while texting.

A survey found the Hoxton street is Britain's worst thoroughfare for "walk-and-text" injury victims.

Across London, it is claimed there were more than 68,000 such accidents last year, with victims' injuries ranging from minor bruises to fractured skulls.

The blame was placed on the large amount of street furniture such as lamp posts and bins and a growing number of pedestrians attracted by the area's curry houses and bars.

Now Brick Lane has been made the country's first "Safe Text" street, with brightly coloured padding, similar to that used on rugby posts, placed on lamp posts to test if it helps protect dozy mobile users.

If the trial is successful, the idea could be rolled out to other London blackspots, including Charing Cross Road, Old Bond Street, Oxford Street and Church Street, Stoke Newington.

The survey, by text information company, revealed 44 per cent of mobile users backed the idea of the padding to save themselves from injury and mild embarrassment. Other suggestions included "mobile motorways", like cycle lanes, giving people a brightly coloured line to follow to stay out of danger.

William Ostrom of said: "The study found Brick Lane was the worst for a combination of reasons. It has a very high concentration of lamp posts, signs and bins in a small area. Added to the pedestrian footfall and the number of drinking establishments, it's a hot spot for accidents."

The research showed more than six million mobile owners had been injured in collisions while walking and using the phone. The number of accidents was said to be linked to our obsession with texting - Britain's 48 million mobile users together send 4.7 million texts an hour.

Campaign groups blamed growing levels of street "clutter", such as lamp posts, bins and recycling points. Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Living Streets, said: "Britain's streets are becoming increasingly like obstacle courses. We were surprised by the scale of accidents but know from our members that cluttered streets continue to cause daily danger."
When I was a kid and bumped into a chair or some such, my Mom would say, "The chair was there first." No sympathy whatsoever ... Those London lamp posts were installed a hundred years ago. Instead of padding the lamp posts, perhaps 6 million Brits need to don padded clothing and helmets - some sort of safe text condom.

There was a time when "can't walk and chew gum at the same time" was a mild insult. How did we get to a place where "can't walk and text at the same time" is a red badge of courage? Must the architectural integrity of a beautiful city be sacrificed for a bunch of morons? Or is it simpler? Does the padding carry advertisements for the texting service?

Forty-four per cent of London's cellphone users like the padding idea to protect them from being hurt or "mild embarrassment". I don't know about you, but I'd be at least mildly embarrassed by running into a lamp post, padded or not.

Rachel Lucas
The Evening Standard

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Indigo Rose said...

and perhaps they will be driving bumper cars, too!
I always threatened to wrap my girls in bubble wrap to prevent injuries.

Indigo Red said...