'Slow lane' for pedestrians texting installed in Manchester city centre

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
The 'slow lanes' are for people who are distracted by their mobile phones while they walk (PA)

Slow paths designed for people distracted by their phones while they walk have been set up in Manchester for 24 hours.

The initiative, spearheaded by online retailer AO.com, comes after new research found that 96% of people have seen others distracted while walking.

The company set up two adjacent 75-metre long (247-foot) 'safe lanes', installed in the city’s Hardman Boulevard.

The 250 ft lane comes after research showed 75% of British pedestrians admitted bumping into somebody while on their phone (PA)

The study, which surveyed 1,500 people, found 75% of respondents admitted to walking and using their phone at the same time.

According to the data, 70% said they regularly walk and text at the same time. A further 19% admitted to walking and video calling.

A further 44% say they are distracted by social media while 42% respond to emails on their phones.

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As a result of being distracted, 38% of those surveyed admitted to colliding with another person while they were using their phone.

A further 25% said they had a 'near miss' where they had to move out of the way at the last second to avoid a collision due to ‘distracted pedestrians’.

The research also showed collisions were more likely to take place when people are shopping (55%) or during the morning commute, with 35% reporting incidents

The issue is now so severe that the behaviour is recognised by the World Health Organisation.

Manchester is trialling Europe's first designated mobile phone slow lanes for pedestrians (PA)

It is defined as a person being unaware of their immediate surroundings and likely to cause a collision.

Richard Baxendale, managing director of AO-Mobile said: “We have to be realistic and responsible when it comes to the way society is changing.

“Our research found Brits being distracted by technology when walking is becoming an issue people want tackled.

“Our trial slow lane is an important first step that may well be adopted by other cities in the future.'

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