‘Slow lanes’ for pedestrians using mobile phones have been installed in Manchester

The World Health Organisation recognises distracted walking as a safety risk


The idea, a marketing stunt from online retailer AO.com, is to stop mobile phone ‘zombies’ from bumping into each other in the street.

The 75m long lanes will be in place on Hardman Boulevard for one day only.


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According to a post on the Spinningfields Facebook page, ‘research has shown that Manchester is the hot-spot for bumping into people on the street due to being too busy looking down at your phone’.

The post adds: “For just one day, busy, tech-savvy workers on Spinningfields will be able to email, text and message without the fear of bumping into anyone!”

It may be a light-hearted gimmick, but the concept of mobile phone safety for pedestrians is fast becoming a genuine topic of public concern.



According to the WHO, there are three key approaches which would help:

– Enacting and enforcing laws on public intoxication;

– Educating pedestrians about the value of wearing lightcolored clothing and reflective materials;

– Urging pedestrians to abide by road signs and signals and the rules of the road generally to promote a culture of safety


A total of 1,500 people were surveyed for the study.

Unsurprisingly, 75 per cent of them said they’re guilty of walking and using their phone simultaneously, according to the data.

When asked if mobile phone usage is a cause for concern when it comes to public safety, 19 per cent of people feel the government and local councils should step-in or provide guidelines.

Seventy per cent say they regularly walk and text, completely oblivious to what is going on around them, while 19 per cent say they are guilty of walking and video calling.

Selfishly, 44 per cent say they walk and use social media and 42 per cent say they regularly walk and respond to emails on their phones, irrespective of traffic.

As a result, 38 per cent of those polled have physically collided with another person.

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