Technology has permeated our daily lives to such a degree that Associated Press reporter David Bauder has taken it upon himself to conduct an informal survey of smartphones’ impact on the habits of Manhattan pedestrians. The results are, to put it bluntly, horrifying:
I saw a woman nearly flattened by a taxi when she stepped off a curb into traffic while looking into her cell phone. A bicycle messenger rode and talked on his phone at the same time. One gabber pushed a baby stroller. One morning two police officers were on the phone. A man nearly bumped into me after swiveling his head mid-step from his screen to watch the backside of a woman passing by.
Women face increase danger of dismemberment at the hands of already reckless cabs; bicyclists careen around the streets, engaged in conversation with God knows who; people are even neglecting their children in the name of phone conversation! The police were talking on the phone, when they could have been stopping crime.
But it gets worse. A full 10 percent of walkers engage in this heedless negligence on a daily basis:
In 15 mornings of counting in late November and December, the average was 48.6 people. The most was 67. The fewer was 28, on the rainy day our Fifth Avenue textlete felt he had room to maneuver. Generally speaking, it was about one in 10 pedestrians.
Maybe Mayor Bloomberg should quit worrying so much about keeping people from getting guns and instead focus on the fancy phones that are making everyone act like bewildered infants.
mtaylor [at] observer.com | @mbrookstaylor