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Distracted pedestrians in Edmonton prompt city councillor to request study

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WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton city councillor wants administration to study the issue of distracted pedestrians, what other municipalities are doing and present recommendations. Julia Wong reports – May 12, 2019

An Edmonton councillor plans to ask city administration to study the issue of distracted pedestrians, a timely matter as the weather warms up and more people head outside.

Councillor Jon Dziadyk will put a motion forward at Tuesday’s city council meeting for administration to look at what other municipalities are doing when it comes to distracted pedestrians and come up with recommendations.

READ MORE: Toronto MPP proposes fines for texting while crossing the street

“We’re seeing a lot of people walking with their phones out. They’re following Google Maps. They’re texting. I just want people to be aware of the inherent danger when they’re crossing the street,” Dziadyk said.

Dziadyk said he hopes to start a conversation about the matter and does not have any solutions in mind.

“What are the norms and expectations, and what can we do to increase the safety for pedestrians so we have no accidents?” he said.

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“This is a new trend that’s happening, and pedestrian safety is front and centre of our focus right now.”

Daniel Robert admits that he looks at his phone “a lot” when crossing the street.

“No idea,” Robert said when asked why.

Robert also seemed unconcerned about whether his safety was at risk.

“You know, I always [have] my peripherals going,” he said.

For other Edmontonians, the risk is too much; Karen Loiseau said she does not use her phone when walking or crossing the street.

“I’m scared to run into a pole,” she said.

LISTEN BELOW: Jon Dziadyk on the Ryan Jespersen Show on 630 CHED

However Loiseau said her children think otherwise and will text regardless of where they are going.

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“My daughter, she was walking and she actually slipped over the edge of the curb [because she was distracted] and tore up her new pants,” Loiseau said.

Loiseau said she laughed when she heard about the incident but acknowledges it also left her concerned about what other incidents may be possible.

“You never know. Somebody could come up and grab her from behind or something,” she said.

Maria Besko said she often is distracted by phone when she crosses the street, and she recognizes it is not the best thing to do.

“It’s not good,” she said.

Besko pinpointed the reason why she can sometimes be glued to her phone.

“It’s something that distracts me from what I’m doing in the present,” she said, adding she has previously bumped into people at the university because she was a distracted pedestrian.

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