Now China has a special mobiles-only pavement lane

A street in the Chinese city of Chongqing has designated a pavement lane for chatters, texters and tweeters (or Weibo-ers, more likely), according to Engadget.

A local publication first flagged up the innovation, which has a sign announcing ‘First mobile phone sidewalks in China’. And we probably shouldn’t be surprised, given that China is now the largest mobile phone market in the world, with predicted sales for 2014 expected to be $87 billion (to America’s comparatively paltry $60bn). One of the five biggest cities in China, Chongqing is in the south west of the country. Over 28 million people live in the area, around 7 million in the city itself. That’s a lot of people phones.

And now anyone who wants to walk around without bumping into people distracted by the internet or their private conversations can happily stroll on the left, while mobile phone users on the right are free to stop mid-step to answer a text, trip each other up, or fall clean off the kerb if they’re not careful. (You also have to cross the lane to get to the other side of the road, which doesn’t seem ideal, and of course, as is obvious from the photo above, little children will roam anywhere.) No wonder the pavement instructions say ‘walk in this lane at your own risk’.

Whether this is intended as a long-term plan and could be expanded throughout China/the world remains to be seen, but the National Geographic TV show Mind over Masses tried this as an experiment in Washington DC a couple of months ago, spray-painting a pavement with ‘NO CELLPHONES’ on one side and ‘CELLPHONES: WALK IN THIS LANE AT YOUR OWN RISK’ on the other. However, they found that many people who were already on their phones didn’t even register the signage. So wherever you are in the world, and whichever side of the pavement you’re walking on, it still pays to watch your step.

Image from NewsCN via Engadget.

Want to read more? Here’s our coverage of the recent Apple announcements, including everything you need to know about Apple’s ‘phablet’, the iPhone 6 Plus, and smartwatches buying guide, or if you’re sick of Apple completely, here’s our rundown of our 14 favourite dating apps, from Tinder to eHarmony.

Diane Shipley