Pedestrian Lane for ‘Smartphone Zombies’ Opens Up in China - NBC 6 South Florida

Pedestrian Lane for ‘Smartphone Zombies’ Opens Up in China

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    Tian ye/Imaginechina via AP
    A pedestrian uses his smartphone as he walks on the mobile phone sidewalk lane in Xi'an city, northwest China's Shaanxi province June 5, 2018. China, home to hundreds of millions of smartphone users, is now experimenting with new ways to prevent smartphone-related accidents: In Xi'an of northwest China's Shaanxi province, pedestrians can choose between a normal lane and an exclusive one reserved for heavy users of mobile devices. However, doubts have arisen over the mass practicability of exclusive lanes. Many pedestrians in Xi'an seemed confused, and clearly ignored the instructions.

    The sight of people walking slowly with their heads down all while glued to their smartphones has become commonplace — so much so that a lane has opened up in China designated for “smartphone zombies” or those who just can’t keep their eyes off their phones.

    The managers of the Bairui Plaza shopping mall in the city of Xi’an within the northwest province of Shaanxi came up with an out-of-the-norm strategy to cater to cellphone-using pedestrians who can’t be bothered to take their eyes off of their devices, according to a recent New York Times report.

    However, all is not what it seems.

    Cao Hanjia, the mall’s spokesperson, said the shopping center is not advocating for people to look at their phones, according to the Times.

    Messages painted along the path suggest that the intent is not solely to provide a designated lane for device-loving pedestrians, but rather to have them look up.

    “Please don’t look down for the rest of your life” and “Path for the special use of the heads-down tribe” are messages seen on the pedestrian lane.

    Although this path might be a tongue-in-cheek way of trying to dissuade pedestrians from using their phones, this is not the first time that special areas for pedestrian phone use have been designated.

    Augsburg, Germany, implemented traffic light onto the surface of the street a couple of years ago to stop texting pedestrians from walking into traffic.

    Rima Abdelkader contributed to this story.