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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Help end distracted walking

Alert person crossing the street(November 20, 2015)  While most of us are familiar with the phenomenon of distracted driving, we don’t hear a lot about distracted walking. Distracted walking occurs when you engage in any activity that diverts your attention from what is happening around you and escalates your risk for injury or death.

Distracted walking, just like distracted driving, is a choice. Talking, texting, surfing, or gaming on your cell phone are all examples of distracted walking. Are you a Pedtextrian? A Pedtextrian is “one who texts while walking, usually unaware of their surroundings”, according to the Urban Dictionary.

Listening to music or podcasts on your ear buds or headphones at a level loud enough to prevent you from hearing what is happening around you is also distracted walking. Before crossing the street, or while walking in trafficked areas (whether with other pedestrians, bikes or vehicles), put down your cell phone, take our your ear buds, and look both ways before crossing to make sure oncoming drivers see you, have time to stop and have stopped before you cross.

Most crashes are preventable. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Tragically, sometimes our mistakes end up costing us or someone else their life. If we all do our part to act responsibly as walkers, bicyclists, transit riders, and drivers, then we can all get to where we want to go safely.