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February 19, 2009

London's Brick Lane — Britain's First 'Safe Text' Street


We're a little late (almost a year — does that work for you?) getting to this story but our motto, "Better late than never," saves us from feeling all that bad about the lag.


Long story short: To prevent people crashing into lampposts and fracturing their skulls while wexting (that's a neoligism you read first right here, right now — it means walking + texting at the same time), the grand panjandrums of London, England have ordered the lampposts on Brick Lane padded (top).

First goalposts, now lampposts... is there no end of padding?

Here's the March 4, 2008 story from The Mail.


Britain's first 'Safe Text' street has been created complete with padded lampposts to protect millions of mobile phone users from getting hurt in street accidents while walking and texting.

Around one in ten careless Brits has suffered a "walk 'n text" street injury in the past year through collisions with lampposts, bins and other pedestrians.

The 6.6million accidents have caused injuries ranging from mild knocks and embarrassing cuts and bruises through to broken noses, cheekbones and even a fractured skull.

Almost two thirds — 62 per cent — of Brits concentrate so hard while texting that they lose their peripheral vision, researchers found.

Given the apparent dangers of "unprotected text", over a quarter of Brits — 27 per cent — are in favour of creating a 'mobile motorway' on Britain's pavements.

Texters could follow a brightly coloured line, which which would act like a cycle lane, steering them away from obstacles.

And 44 per cent of those surveyed wanted pads placed on lampposts to protect them while texting. The study found that busy city streets were the worst for "walk 'n text" accidents.

The research showed that Brick Lane in East London was the top spot for texting injuries.

Now Brick Lane has been made the country's first "Safe Text" street, with brightly coloured padding, similar to that used on rugby posts, placed on lamp posts to test if it helps protect dozy mobile users.

If the trial is successful, the idea could be rolled out to other London blackspots, including Charing Cross Road, Old Bond Street, Oxford Street and Church Street, Stoke Newington.

Across London, it is claimed there were more than 68,000 such accidents last year, with victims' injuries ranging from minor bruises to fractured skulls.

The blame was placed on the large amount of street furniture such as lamp posts and bins and a growing number of pedestrians attracted by the area's curry houses and bars.

The survey, by text information company 118.com, revealed 44 per cent of mobile users backed the idea of the padding to save themselves from injury and mild embarrassment. Other suggestions included "mobile motorways," like cycle lanes, giving people a brightly coloured line to follow to stay out of danger.

William Ostrom of 118.com said: "The study found Brick Lane was the worst for a combination of reasons. It has a very high concentration of lamp posts, signs and bins in a small area. Added to the pedestrian footfall and the number of drinking establishments, it's a hot spot for accidents."

Britain's 48 million mobile users together send 4.7 million texts an hour.

Campaign groups blamed growing levels of street 'clutter,' such as lamp posts, bins and recycling points. Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Living Streets, said: "Britain's streets are becoming increasingly like obstacle courses. We were surprised by the scale of accidents but know from our members that cluttered streets continue to cause daily danger."


Or you could wear one of these


and safely text your little heart out anywhere.

February 19, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Hmm. No mention of whether the same folks could walk and chew gum at the same time.

Posted by: Ron | Feb 20, 2009 4:33:23 AM

Oh Joe...

They got you.

Almost a year in arrears, but they got you.

It was a hoax - a simple marketing stunt, only set up for the cameras, and then gone.

Here is the local paper from the next day: http://www.eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk/content/towerhamlets/advertiser/news/story.aspx?brand=ELAOnline&category=news&tBrand=northlondon24&tCategory=newsela&itemid=WeED05%20Mar%202008%2017%3A10%3A46%3A543

Of course the explanation only made the local paper as it didn't have the marketing firm behind it like the original 'story' did.

Posted by: Tim | Feb 19, 2009 6:45:43 PM

Oh come on, that has to be an "Onion" news story. I know they are a crazy nanny-state over there, but someone please tell me they are kidding!!!

Posted by: Lilorfnannie | Feb 19, 2009 6:28:18 PM

Or they could just walk (put phone in pocket) and look around/up so as to see obstacles in the path. I know it sounds crazy.

Posted by: B | Feb 19, 2009 2:18:12 PM

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