Calgary

Calgary rejects possible law on distracted walking

Toronto is moving to stop people from texting while walking, but officials in Calgary say the city does not yet need a law aimed specifically at distracted pedestrians.

But Pokemon Go craze could prompt new regulation

A woman text messages while walking across the street in San Francisco. Experts say pedestrians are suffering the consequences of mobile distractions by tripping on curbs, walking into traffic or even stepping into manholes while on their phones. (Ben Margot/Associated Press)

Toronto is moving to stop people from texting while walking, but officials in Calgary say the city does not yet need a law aimed specifically at distracted pedestrians.

Sgt. Paul Stacey of the Calgary Police Service says Calgary's bylaws can potentially deal with the issue. 

"You can be issued tickets for, say, crossing not in a timely manner or kind of dawdling on the street and that sort of thing," he said. 

The fine for not making a timely crossing is $78.

However, Stacey says the Pokemon Go game craze might change his thinking about the need for a new law.

"I'm sitting on the fence waiting to see what happens," he said.

Coun. Ward Sutherland agrees the smartphone virtual reality game is highlighting the issue of distracted pedestrians, but he also does not see the need for a new bylaw.

"If we're really not getting a gain of behavioural change ... collecting more money achieves nothing," he said.

Sutherland believes the first step should be education and he says the city is working to get more lessons about pedestrian safety into local classrooms.

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