Happy Thursday all. It’s time for my guest blogger to take over again, so here goes. Enjoy!
Is it just me or does this happen to you? You’re walking along behind someone when they suddenly, without warning, just stop. Then you notice they’re either on the phone or doing something with their phone or they’ve stopped to tell their child off for something. You do a kind of side-step to avoid walking into them while they seem completely oblivious to the problem they’ve created. Last week I mentioned the incident, in my local supermarket, of someone talking on a mobile phone and leaving their trolley blocking the aisle. (This week, by the way, went without a hitch – result!)
I’ve been thinking of how this problem could be solved. My solution is quite revolutionary (in Rambler-opolis, anyway) – pedestrian lights. That is pedestrian brake lights (& side lights for when walking at night). Now, before you laugh, just bear with me while I explain. They would be positioned on your shoulders with the red lens facing to the back. They could be powered by a small watch size battery. Every pedestrian would have to have them so that people walking behind would know when the person was going to stop (as the red brake light would go on) and can then take avoiding action. Now I’m not sure at this stage whether indicator lights could be added. Wouldn’t it be great if you could tell which way a person was going to turn especially if you were going to do an overtaking manoeuvre just by the lights on their shoulders?
Think about this – we don’t allow people to fly planes, drive trains, captain ships, ride motorbikes or scooters, drive trucks or any vehicle without passing a test. However when it comes to the pavement (sidewalk) we seem to just let anyone do whatever they want. Just as you have to pass a test to drive a vehicle on the road I think there should be a “Walking Test” before you’re allowed out on the pavements. (Kids would be exempt until they reach a certain age.) Until such time as you pass the test you wear an “L” badge (front and back). Once you’ve passed you get a pedestrian licence or walking permit. There’d be an equivalent to the Highway Code for pedestrians – a Pavement Code, maybe? There would also be a Pedestrian Police Force who could catch people breaking the rules; they should definitely catch people talking on their mobile phone whilst walking – this is a big “No-No”. (They could also breathalyse people if they suspect they are “walking under the influence of alcohol”.) In Rambleropolis if you want to answer the phone you must walk to the side of the pavement away from the road where there will be a white line marking an area for stationary pedestrians. It will be roughly the width of one person. (The area could be also used by those wanting to tie up a shoelace that has come undone or adjust their tie or dress in general.) If you are using your phone you should remain still, in this marked area, for the duration of the call. You must stop walking. Once the call, or whatever you’re doing, is over you should check behind to make sure no-one is coming and then cross the line and resume walking in the main area. How easy is that?
This would definitely introduce a bit more order to the chaos of people just walking wherever they want. Then we could look at some more measures like pedestrian speed cameras. This would bring even more order to our pavements. Running would not be allowed as it’s dangerous to those moving more slowly and older folks. Speed cameras would pick up those who disobey, say those exceeding 6mph. Further on as systems develop I think maybe we could develop the idea of a white line down the centre of the pavement. That certainly would be worth looking into. Failing a driving test is something you talk about with your friends & relatives but imagine the shame of failing your pedestrian test. Yes, I think this would really spur people on to be good citizens.
(As a quick aside here, I think there should also be a test for people using trolleys in supermarkets that would include how to position the trolley whilst thinking about what to buy or whilst talking on a mobile phone!)
I can see quite a few nodding heads. I know what you’re thinking – why has no-one ever thought of something like this before? Well to be honest I was wondering that too. I can’t see too many problems with my idea so far so I think it’s off down to the patent office tomorrow to protect my idea from anyone trying to steal it and make a fortune. Remember, in a few years time, when everyone is wearing my invention, you read it first here! I would of course expect to earn sizeable sums of money from the royalties of my idea and will probably buy a decent car with a chauffeur so don’t expect to meet me on the pavement! Oh and finally would like to just wish you all “Happy Walking”.