Texters get footpath walking lanes in Antwerp, Belgium

"Textwalking" could be endangering your life - thankfully, there is hope from Belgium.
DIEGO CERVO/123RF

"Textwalking" could be endangering your life - thankfully, there is hope from Belgium.

A Belgian city has come up with a solution to the problem of pedestrians bumping into other people while sending text messages from their mobile phones.

Antwerp has given smartphone users their own designated lanes, where they can walk while texting or looking at their mobiles without irritating or endangering others.

The narrow corridors are marked "text walking lane" in English on a number of busy pedestrian shopping streets in the city centre.

The markings on the ground are in white paint, but some lanes wind through narrow cobbled streets.

Negotiating the corners is likely to remain challenging for people whose eyes are glued to their phone screens.

The temporary scheme is the brainchild of a local mobile phone business, Mlab, which says many smartphones are broken in collisions between pedestrians.

But if the lanes are judged to reduce the number of accidents resulting in broken screens, buttons or cases, officials said they could be made permanent.

"Everyone 'textwalks'," an Mlab spokesman told Yahoo news.

"You probably walk through the streets while texting or sending Whatsapp messages to your friends and don't really pay attention to your surroundings.

"This causes collisions with poles or other pedestrians. You could, unknowingly, even be endangering your own life while you 'textwalk' when you cross the street without looking up."

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 - The Telegraph, London

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