The180

Calgary councillor wants to fine distracted walkers

Drivers in most provinces can get dinged for texting and driving. But what about pedestrians? Calgary city councillor Ward Sutherland says they're part of the equation too, so he's asking the city and police to look into fines for distracted walkers.
Pedestrians walk past a "Look!" sign on a crosswalk. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (The Associated Press)

Sure, drivers in most provinces can get dinged for texting and driving. But what about pedestrians? Calgary city councillor Ward Sutherland says they're part of the equation too, so he's asking the city and police to look into fines for distracted walkers.

Councillor Sutherland says both drivers and pedestrians have responsibility when it comes to road safety, but he thinks pedestrians haven't been keeping up their end of the bargain.

He says he's not trying to create a nanny state-- he doesn't care, for example, about people bumping into each other on the sidewalk because they're staring at their phones-- but he's worried about the number of people who stroll into marked crosswalks, eyes down, without checking to see if all the cars have stopped first: "The vehicle's 200,000 pounds. Who's going to win?"

It's just common sense to look around your surroundings when you put yourself in a dangerous situation.- Ward Sutherland

Sutherland doesn't know yet what exactly the solution is, but he'd like the city and police to consider anti-distracted walking campaigns while they look at other pedestrian safety measures (new lighting for crosswalks, for example). He thinks a combination of education, and jaywalking-type fines may work best. 

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