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Cellestrians are a new hazard on city streets

Many people today have mobile phones (a.k.a. cellphones), but from what I’ve seen recently, some people would be better off without the ‘mobile’ part.

I’ve seen at least three people step off the curb into a crosswalk without even looking for oncoming traffic because they were looking at their cellphone.

Yes, you’re in a crosswalk so you probably think there’s an impenetrable, invisible barrier between you and traffic, but there are some icy roads in the city, and that means vehicles can’t stop on a dime when a pedestrian suddenly appears in front of them.

I also saw one of my favourites, where one of the cellestrians (my new term for a pedestrian looking at a cellphone) almost fell flat on their face when they stepped off the curb without realizing it was there.

On the other side of the coin, I saw one young woman who was slowed down by her cellphone use. She was standing at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Highway 97, and had obviously pushed the ‘Walk’ button to cross the highway.

Unfortunately, after pushing it, she then turned back to her cellphone and missed the signal activating. She looked up in time to see the countdown clock for pedestrians at about 10 seconds, took half a step forward, then decided to push the button again and wait for the next light.

I hope she didn’t start looking at her cellphone again, or she might still be there.

Of course, you also have the cellestrians who bump into each other or other pedestrians as they’re on the sidewalk because they don’t see the other person.

I don’t have my cellphone out when I’m ‘on’ the sidewalk. If I hear it ring or make some other notification noise, I step off the sidewalk and take a look. I consider that the polite thing to do.

I did see one new cellestrian collision this week. Two people, each looking at their cellphone, walking into each other – in a supermarket. I don’t know if one or both of them were checking their lists for the store when they collided.

It also didn’t help matters that each of them was walking right down the middle of the aisle. Yes, they wanted to avoid the displays the supermarket had set up along the sides of the aisle, but walking down the middle didn’t solve the problem, obviously.

If your life is so disorganized that you need to be on your cellphone every second of the day, maybe it’s time to take a look at how you can simplify things.

If it isn’t that disorganized, I’m sure you can put the cellphone away for a few minutes.

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