Toronto pedestrians have mixed views on potential distracted walking ban

If texting while crossing the street becomes illegal in Toronto, it doesn't seem like everyone will be on board.

City council voted for motion to stop texting and crossing the street

Omar Plummer, seen here crossing a street in downtown Toronto, says he thinks a ban on texting and walking would be "really crazy." (CBC)

If texting while crossing the street becomes illegal in Toronto, it doesn't seem like everyone will be on board. 

On Thursday, city council passed a motion calling for the province of Ontario to amend the Highway Traffic Act to make it illegal to use a mobile device "while on any travelled portion of a roadway." 

The province shot back saying pedestrians should keep their heads up while walking and that municipal governments are free to make their own bylaws, but Queen's Park will not step in on this matter.

CBC News found one pedestrian who says he will be up in arms if the city makes distracted walking illegal.

"I think that's really crazy," said Omar Plummer, who was looking down at his phone as he traversed a downtown road. "I think that [it] should be legal."

Plummer says he thinks he should be able to cross while looking at his phone because he's able to multi-task.

"I was very well aware," he said of his walking and texting. "I was on my phone, but I was also looking at the oncoming traffic."

Are some crashes unavoidable?

Razvan Martinas was also caught on his phone while crossing a street. He says he's open to the idea of making the action illegal. 

"I think they should do it," he said of the bylaw. "A car could crash [into] me at that moment, any time, and I wouldn't pay attention. But, at the same time, I don't think that if I was not on my phone, I could prevent that either."

​Kary Chow says he considers himself a "careful person," but admits the motion that was amended to include more than just texting may be going too far. 

"I think texting is 100 per cent more dangerous than just speaking on the telephone," he said.

​Distracted pedestrians insist that's just the way the world is in the digital age of 2016.

"I don't think I was doing anything wrong," Plummer said. "I'm doing what everyone else was doing."

With files from Chris Glover


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