Oblivious walking, an unseen Berkeley danger

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So you are walking to class through Telegraph, eating an ice cream sandwich from CREAM, listening to music on your earbuds, texting your mom, wondering if there will be a pop quiz today and rewording your newest thesis in your head.

Some students in front of you cross the street and you follow behind them, when all of a sudden, you are staring down the front of a Jetta honking its horn and coming 35 mph straight at you. Thank God you jumped back onto the curb. According to data from the The Seattle Times, you could have just become one of the 60,000 people that are in vehicle/pedestrian accidents every year in the United States — or worse, one of the 4,000 fatalities that occur from such accidents.

We’ve seen these types of scary incidents happen in Berkeley before. Last semester, a student was hit crossing the street on the north side of campus.

We all do it, walking while distracted. And apparently we do it a lot.

A survey from a research center at the University of Washington found, after surveying 20 of the busiest intersections in Seattle, that one in three people are distracted by their cellphones while walking. We know that texting while walking takes your mind off of what is around you and instead focuses your attention on what is in your hands, which is sometimes a good thing with midterms right around the corner.

Walking while distracted is dangerous, especially with more and more Berkeley kids on their new iPhones. After watching this video, the Clog’s worried that we’ll see more students falling into the Upper Sproul fountain.

And the Consumer Product Safety Commission backs up our concern with data that say that more than 1,000 people end up in the emergency room every year due to accidents from walking and texting.

We’ve heard that some cities have started issuing tickets to distracted walkers. With the cost of college already on the rise, we’re against anything that will cost us more. But we would rather not have students start get hit by cars a lot … or at all.

So please remember to look both ways, pay attention to signals, cross at the appropriate time and don’t just follow the people in front of you.

It’s one thing to be a graduate — it’s another to be a statistic.

Image source: pborenstein under Creative Commons 

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