Stay between the lines – could London benefit from text lanes?

We need them because we don’t know where we’re going

Text lanes 1


Computer technology was supposed to set us free. Instead, like flies to those exterminating blue lights in kitchens, we are increasingly unable to break our gaze from screens. Until ZAP! You’ve walked straight into a lamppost.

While driving, walking, entertaining guests, or even having sex, growing numbers of people are becoming enslaved by their mobile devices.

For walking mobile addicts at least, help for the symptoms of addiction, if not for the problem itself, is at hand.  

In Antwerp, an enterprising mobile phone repair company has pulled off an amusing PR stunt, painting text lanes onto pavements for walkers in the city.

The lines replace the long practiced walking technique known as looking where you are going.

Instead of looking ahead and around, the lane provides phone users the comfort of wandering through the medieval Belgian city in ignorant safety.

Text lanes 2

Image: Mlab/Rex/Shutterstock

The company responsible for the lanes, Mlab, has clearly given up on our species, given its depressing assessment of what modern life entails: “Everyone textwalks,” they said. “You probably walk through the streets while texting or sending Whatsapp messages to your friends and don’t really pay attention to your surroundings, only to whatever is happening on your screen.”

“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.”

Hmm. Sounds like we might need them in London. Someone text Boris.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Was going to suggest that any one texting while walking/driving/biking can be legally culled - but been advised that is a bit severe. Colleagues have suggested anti-social texting should be reward by a bucket of water thrown over the offenders head (ice optional).

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