back to article Germans stick traffic lights in pavements for addicts who can't take their eyes off phones

The German city of Augsburg is embedding warning lights in the pavement at traffic intersections to alert smartphone users who don't looking up before crossing the road. Rows of red LEDs have been embedded in the pavement after a 15-year-old girl was killed when she stepped in front of a tram while looking at her smartphone …

  1. Herby Silver badge

    Darwin award??

    Maybe they shouldn't have the lights. The world needs people who pay attention to silly things like their surroundings!

    A better idea might be to have a light bulb above their head so cars can run them down with impunity.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Darwin award??

      You will lose a good part of the consumovoter demographic!

      1. Notas Badoff

        Re: Darwin award??

        Would this dummy demographic notice any action by politicians, much less remember at voting time?

        1. PNGuinn

          Re: Darwin award?? @ Notas

          Probably not.

          But that does not necessarily invalidate the original post, does it?

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Darwin award??

          Would this dummy demographic notice any action by politicians, much less remember at voting time?

          Coming next week: national elections now allow voting by "liking" a candidate or party on Facebook.

          Problem .... solved!

      2. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Darwin award??

        You think humans are dumb now, imagine if for the past several million years, homo sapiens and their evolutionary predecessors were protected from nasty beasts like sabre toothed tigers and dire wolves via the intervention of friendly aliens so we didn't have to be aware of our surroundings.

        Hold on, maybe that actually would explain people walking in front of trains while texting...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Darwin award??

          "Hold on, maybe that actually would explain people walking in front of trains while texting..."

          In my home town some people set up their folding chairs and blankets on the rail road tracks to watch a fireworks display. The next edition of the newspaper had their outraged letters. A train came along! They could have been killed! Someone should be held responsible!

          I think there is a group of people that are literally too stupid to live.

          I wish they were too stupid to breed - I blame porn for that: it's a step-by-step guide for halfwits.

          Forget nuclear secrets - lets keep the secrets of procreation from the unworthy.

          God - I'm rambling, aren't I?

          Oh, well, off to pornhub.

          1. Fatman Silver badge

            Re: Darwin award??

            <quote>I think there is a group of people that are literally too stupid to live.</quote>

            If you were to look at their medical records, you would realize one very important fact: they have shit for brains.

            This condition is known in medical literature as Terminal Stupidity.

            Most manglers suffer from this disease.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            One way to filter some of them

            Offer an inducement for sterilization, choosing the inducement such that idiots will take it up enthusiastically while non-idiots won't be particularly tempted --- maybe free legal crack for life would be one of the options? Or free phone company subscriptions?

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Darwin award??

      The Darwin award might be deserved for some recipients but the tram operator delivering it is going to feel like shit anyways.

      1. Brad Ackerman
        Thumb Down

        Re: Darwin award??

        Paperwork for the police, transit agency, and tram operator; delays for a rather large number of people. I'm sure the smombies can find a venue to receive their awards that doesn't have quite as much collateral damage.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Darwin award??

          I would not like to be the person who has to hose down the front and underside of the trams, TYVM.

      2. Zork-1

        Re: Darwin award??

        That's why we need autonomous trams.

        But seriously, can't they just put up jamming posts next to the crossings so all phones shut down. Or Have an auto proximity "ad" like feature on all phones, showing a message to the user to look at the traffic ahead?

    3. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Darwin award??

      Let's make it interesting... Let's put theses people on bikes. Oh, right I see that stupidity every day here in NL... riding a bike, head down and ears filled. I'm surprised I don't see more accidents.

      1. Locky Silver badge

        Re: Darwin award??

        Not all bike headphones are equal....

      2. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Darwin award??

        Oh, but they're good.

        Best I saw was in Maastricht. Girl on bike using her phone. Lack of concentration meant she missed the kerb / cobbles change, the front wheel stopped and she went clean over the handlebars.

        Bounced a few times on the cobbles, rolled out and was still talking on the phone when she got up.

        My view is that the only change we need to solve the problem is a new Coroner's verdict: "Suicide while the balance of their mind was somewhere else.".

        1. ShadowDragon8685

          Re: Darwin award??

          I believe that's already adequately covered by the verdict "Death by Misadventure".

      3. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Darwin award??

        riding a bike, head down and ears filled. I'm surprised I don't see more accidents.

        Well if you looked up from your phone more often... ;-)

  2. EddieD

    Think of it as evolution in action.

    ©Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

    1. Notas Badoff

      Onward march!

      I think it was only today on another topic that someone mentioned "The Marching Morons". Do note the reference to 'lemmings' and the 'solution'.

      1. Zimmer

        Re: Onward march!

        Plus one, for The Marching Morons... I'm old enough to remember reading that....not that many years after it was published... I seem to think about that story a lot this century

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Onward march!

          Yeah, I amongst others have referred to that story a few times in these comments sections. It should be required reading in all schools and the teacher forced at gunpoint if necessary to explain it to their students in minute detail. With an exam afterwards to make sure the lesson has gone in.

          Then we issue free bumper packs of condoms to all the students.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Onward march!

        Needs a rewrite: "The Shuffling Morons"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Onward march!

          iPodestrians is my favorite descriptive.

          Although clueless, braindead, inconsiderate muppets fits as well.

  3. Craig 2 Silver badge

    That's going to cost to install city-wide. It comes under the same umbrella as my car insurance being used to subsidise idiot drivers, my taxes for lazy scumbags and bank charges to bail out irresponsible spenders.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      That's going to cost to install city-wide

      I would not be so sure. LEDs are pretty easy to install and retrofit. It can be rolled out along with resurfacing and general improvements to sidewalks to minimize costs as well. In any case, the usefulness of this one is "to be determined".

      If we copy a LED application, I'd rather have us copy the Eastern European approach. They recently started augmenting standard traffic lights for cars with matching LED strips on the gantries. Highly visible, cheap, reliable, easy to install and a big improvement on overall road safety.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        On the gantry?

        So useless for the colour blind, who use the layout of the lights.

        Personally I'd be happy I'd my local council/TFL would put the light modules back into the traffic cluster, instead of leaving them dangling for weeks.

        Looks disturbing to say the least.

        1. Peter Ford

          Re: On the gantry?

          The flashing ought to help the colour blind - the implementation appears to be flashing LEDs that presumably don't flash when the crossing is safe.

        2. Crisp Silver badge

          Re: useless for the colour blind, who use the layout of the lights

          I'm colour blind and believe it or not, we can see ruddy great big solid blocks of colour.

          Picking red roses out of a green bush at a fair distance away is another story, but big massive lights? Not a problem.

          1. ChrisC

            Re: useless for the colour blind, who use the layout of the lights

            To be fair to the previous poster, they *may* be well-versed in the various different types of CVD, and were specifically thinking about the small percentage of CVD people who genuinely do have no colour vision at all, rather than the far larger percentage who merely suffer from some degree of deficiency.

            Or, as is more likely the case, maybe they're simply part of that surprisingly large group of non-CVD people who really do believe that colour "blindness" is a binary condition rather than the far more complex spectrum it actually is.

            Like you, I don't have any difficulty with things like traffic lights that some people automatically assume I'd struggle with as soon as they find out I'm red-green deficient. My favourite example of where I really do struggle comes courtesy of our Samsung fridge freezer, which has a built in water/ice dispenser and accompanying filter cartridge. On the door there's a small LCD to show the temperatures, dispenser settings etc., and also whether or not the filter needs replacing. Most of the LCD consists of blue on black characters/symbols, however when the filter has expired the symbol for the filter changes to red. Being merely red-green deficient as opposed to completely unable to see red, this isn't the problem.

            What *is* the problem is that, in the weeks leading up to the expiry of the filter, the symbol first changes colour from blue to purple (I'm assuming here that Samsung decided not to splash out on a different backlight LED here, and are simply driving both the blue and red ones). However, the only reason I know it changes to purple is because my wife asked me one day what the purple light on the fridge meant - to my CVD-afflicted eyes there's no discernable difference in shade between this symbol when it switches between blue and purple, even though the shade of red used is, on its own, quite distinct.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: useless for the colour blind, who use the layout of the lights

              In order to comply with disability legislation, you need to cover the worst plausible case.

              Color deficiency is indeed a sliding scale, from 2 macadam problems up to a total lack of one or all types of cone.

              While full colour blindness is rare, it does exist and must be allowed for by public design. You can't make it impossible for someone to drive just because they can't distinguish the colours.

              I'm glad that two of you just decided to assume I'm an idiot rather than read the actual words I used, or pay attention to the relevant legislation.

              I had rather expected better here. Truly, DevOps melts your brain.

    2. Uffish

      Re: Cost

      May I suggest a lower cost solution. It's what I thought the article's title meant when I first read it.

      In future put all traffic lights, street lights, litter bins, park benches in the middle of the pavement (USA etc - sidewalk). That will at least educate a lot of the ipodestrians.

  4. raving angry loony


    So much for the zombie apocalypse. Now we know how it starts. Pretty soon the zombies will be chasing down the non-zombies who dare interfere with their candy crush. But slowly, because the beat doesn't let you run faster.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Zombies + fast beat

      "Hey, they're going to get you too,

      Another one bites the dust"

  5. Blofeld's Cat


    Installing lights at ground level is far too simple a solution for use here in the UK.

    Instead The Powers That Be would commission a complex, multi-million pound project to develop technology that would make vehicles take avoiding action when a distracted phone user steps into their path.

    The project would naturally be outsourced to a minister's friend suitably experienced consultant, get delivered five years late, be extremely over-budget, and be incompatible with any phone or vehicle in use at that date.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Hmm...

      That too easy.. you're missing out the tearing up of roads, cable and LED installers. There's massive amounts of kickback and the added benefit of signs and publicity because "we're thinking of the children".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm...

      "Installing lights at ground level is far too simple a solution for use here in the UK."

      I see what you are getting at here.. But in the UK such a technical solution isn't simple. Procurement rules and interference by politically elected leaders will ensure that the choice will be a totally unsuitable product that will never work as intended.

      So it's more a matter of which misguided and mismanaged solution will eventually be picked. I vote for the cheapest one, which would be to do nothing. Besides, do give Darwin a chance at least.

      1. Phil Kingston Silver badge

        Re: Hmm...

        Is a better solution in place already in the UK? I thought every single crossing had been dug up and fitted with dimples and drop-kerbs to indicate a crossing. Which, unlike LEDs, also work for visually impaired folk and considerably easier/cheaper to maintain.

        Still a complete waste of money, but it's already been done.

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

          Re: Hmm...

          Maybe just replace the LEDs with a BOFH style cattle prod (lengthways of course)? Step near it when you shouldn't be crossing and get a zap?

          Also fit a variant across the road too, so muppet drivers who jump the red lights (especially at crossings) get a similar jolt? Could be tricky to deal with the insulating properties of car tyres I guess, so maybe a higher voltage or a set of stinger spikes too?

        2. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Hmm...

          drop-kerbs to indicate a crossing...

          Still a complete waste of money

          I'm guessing you don't use a wheelchair.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    All they need are cartoony brochures showing how not be killed in an intersection.

    It worked in Russia for the "how not to take selfies," didn't it?

    Or, maybe they need an app that tells you when you're about to be creamed by a vehicular merchant of death - I'm sure it would be popular once they work out the bugs.

  7. MrTuK

    I wonder where it will end !

    Actually I don't see this working, whose to say they would see the Red LED's on the pavement on a bright sunny day when they can't see a tram !

    Maybe in the evening but not during daytime !

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Yes, you'd have thought some kind of proximity warning on the phone would make more sense. But have to be careful not to interrupt the important "breathe in, breathe out" instructions…

  8. CCCP

    Never mind the article - this might be a good idea

    It always struck me that the pedestrian lights were hard for the visually impaired to spot and decipher. Yes, I know there are audio signals, but at a busy junction they're difficult to hear.

    Also, whether smart phone-impaired or not, you always look at where you put your feet, so ground level is not a bad place for flashing red.

    Costly? Maybe. But you'd only bother at busy junctions. And injured humans are very expensive to fix.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @CCCP - Re: Never mind the article - this might be a good idea

      Smombies are no longer humans!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never mind the article - this might be a good idea

      There are also haptic signals if you can't see or hear, but mostly they're only known to the visually impaired.

      Basically a little protrusion on the bottom of the button box that will vibrate when the lights go green.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Never mind the article - this might be a good idea

      "It always struck me that the pedestrian lights were hard for the visually impaired to spot and decipher. Yes, I know there are audio signals, but at a busy junction they're difficult to hear."

      Yes, that can be an issue for some types of disability. What you should be outraged at is not just the lack of thought and care put into making life better for the disabled, but the waste of money spent "protecting" those who intentionally and wilfully temporarily "disable" themselves by being inconsiderate self absorbed utter twats.

  9. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Wait for the inevitable lawsuit

    when a smombie is run over at an intersection that does not have embedded lights, or the lights don't work.

    "Since there were no flashing lights in the sidewalk, my client assumed that it was safe to cross without looking."

    1. PNGuinn

      Re: Wait for the inevitable lawsuit

      My client was unable to see the warning because {{DUMB EXCUSE}} and is suing for negligence ...

      My client was actively considering ending it all but was distracted by the blinkenlights while browsing ways ... breach of human rights ...

      My clients are concerned that this "facility" is distracting our product from interacting fully with our targeted programme of relevant ads ... Our partner funeral homes are concerned that the their research into providing potential clients with the easiest possible life exit strategies is being negatively impacted ... to the detriment of the negative life chances of ... and the human rights of our potential product ...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are all missing the obvious solution, fences and barriers.

    Put all the idiots behind fences and barriers. Problem solved.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Nobody's got that much fencing.

      1. moiety

        Pop-up trampolines! How much fun would that be?

    2. Phil Kingston Silver badge

      Duct tape old mattresses to the front of trams.

      Job done.

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        > Duct tape old mattresses to the front of trams.

        In a wedge configuration, so that they push the idiots off the tracks on impact. That way, the train doesn't have to stop. Sort of like the old "cow catchers" on American steam locomotives.

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Put all the idiots behind fences and barriers.

      Are we back to talking about Trump's wall again?

  11. Daniel B.

    I'm conflicted

    Part of me wants the Darwin Awards to follow their natural course .... the other part wants less accidents, 'cause getting late to work due to some numbnuts not watching before crossing is annoying.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      R@Daniel B. - e: I'm conflicted

      You can't fight against stupidity. There are no laws against it.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: I'm conflicted

      There's also the drivers to think of: most drivers involved in machine + idiot incidents tend to leave service.

      The trams here all have bells on them indicating when they're about to set off, very important in pedestrian areas, and some of the busier crossings also have both acoustic and visual warnings. But if people don't always follow the dictum of "stop, look and listen" then you're going to have accidents.

      1. Daniel B.

        Re: I'm conflicted

        There's also the drivers to think of: most drivers involved in machine + idiot incidents tend to leave service.

        Indeed. One of my former girlfriends had the nasty experience of watching someone fall into the subway tracks just seconds before the train entered the station. She looked away from the tracks, but heard a loud crunch when the train ran over the guy. She got really sick from that, and she says that the driver (who had slammed the emergency brakes) got out as soon as the train stopped and barfed on the floor. That was just awful.

  12. Chozo
    Big Brother

    In the interest of safety...

    Make it mandatory for all smart-phones to have a government issued Geofencing app installed. Keeping citizens safe with a warning as they approach areas deemed dangerous.

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: In the interest of safety...

      It could be incorporated, Clippy style, into Cortana, Siri & Google Now:

      "Hi. It looks like you're about to get creamed by a tram. Would you like me to:

      - Call an ambulance?

      - Call a lawyer?

      - Send a goodbye Tweet to all your farcebook friends?

      1. PNGuinn

        Re: In the interest of safety...


        You missed:

        "Would you like some help with that?"

        "If you succeed would you like me to forward the details of your demise to the Darwin Award Committee?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Chozo - Re: In the interest of safety...

      Nah, I would go with a simple tripwire laid down at a safe distance from the crossing.

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: In the interest of safety...

      Keeping citizens safe with a warning as they approach areas deemed dangerous.

      So basically anywhere outside their own bedroom, then.

    4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: In the interest of safety...

      Oh, think of the fun possibilites when that app is hacked!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Around here we have people riding dark bikes wearing dark clothing with no lights, The pedestrians are just as bad. Is it legal to hit them? it's very tempting to do that!:-D

  14. Snafu1

    I think I've told this story before, but back around 2K I was was trying to cross Oxford St from Bond St. I waited at a junction with the rest of the crowd, & flung out my arm protectively to catch a woman across the chest/neck who was just about to push her pushchair (with infant) straight into the path of an oncoming taxi (as I was taller I could see the taxi before she could)

    No smobes in that case (a bit too early), but can you guess the outcome?

    1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Did she sue you for sexual assault?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "a woman across the chest/neck who was just about to push her pushchair (with infant) straight into the path of an oncoming taxi"

      And I think I may have told this one before: back in the mid-80s I was riding a motorbike - with my sister on the back - down the centre line through stationary traffic at Holland Park when a pushchair closely followed by the woman pushing it rolled into my path from behind a view-obscuring van. Obviously I wasn't going fast, but fast enough that there was no way to stop. I flicked the bike right and left again and went between the pushchair and car on the other side without hitting either. I was so relieved, that I never felt anger towards the woman; it was rendered irrelevant. It remains the most frightening experience I've ever had. One would hope the same is true for her.

  15. Oengus

    Peril sensitive device

    Create a peril sensitive device like the peril sensitive glasses from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy... The Screen blanks and an ear shattering siren plays through the earphones when it senses danger so the user can't see or hear the approaching danger (works particularly well with VR glasses).

  16. Medixstiff

    With a population of 7 billion and climbing, when are the rose coloured glasses idiots going to start letting nature take it's course?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      But we're already letting nature take its course. Many of us eat too much. Some of us still smoke. We drive cars that pollute the air too much. We overuse antibiotics. We're chucking too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and are still arguing after a generation about how to go about stopping the seas rising and the marginal areas of the globe becoming unproductive or uninhabitable. Right now we're letting tens of thousands of people in the UK alone die unnecessarily each and every year, yet are happy to spend a load of money on stopping a few dozen people from dying or being badly injured.

      Why do we do this? Because the little problems are easy to solve, so we concentrate more on those than on the big problems even though in comparison they are nowhere near as cost-effective for life-years lost. It's also easier to put a name and a face to someone killed by a small problem, whether it's because we've had to scrape them off the road or because we know that 97% of lung cancer cases are directly caused by smoking. That's us and our rose-tinted glasses.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Walking Dead

    Let the witnesses sue their estate for PTSD.

    Lion's share to the vehicle driver.

  18. Charlie Clark Silver badge


    Not heard it yet. Sounds like it was made up for the article.

    "bean counter" is a fine translation for Erbsenzähler, even if it places less emphasis on pedantry. Basically someone who likes to split hairs or can't see the wood for the trees. Korinthenkacker is a nice synonym.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Smombies

      A quick search suggests Smombies is a common word in the UK media.

  19. MR J

    My dog cant play with Sticks.

    Sticks are dangerous to dogs, as they may get splinters.

    To me this is up there along the same area. It is horrible to hear that someone has died by walking in front of a tram/train/car... The fix for them doing that is to just keep adding external factors to the environment to hope you can give someone notice? What will we see next, a "Google Walking" app that will say "Warning, you are approaching a cliff, Do an emergency stop and make a U-Turn".

    The film Idiocracy comes to mind with the way many rules are put into place in Europe. I see poorly designed junctions and crossings that are in desperate need of updating, but instead we will look to pour money into zones where people just don't know the basic rules.

    On a side note I have nearly hit 3 kids where I live, one of those has been hit twice by other people lol... She is now in her late teens and driving, but never did that girl learn to look before walking across a street. At least with cars children can sometimes get a second chance, or third. The speed limit in my area is now 20mph to help reduce injury to people who are not smart enough to look before crossing.

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: My dog cant play with Sticks.

      Simple measures to prevent accidents are one thing but if we keep adding features to protect people from their own stupidity then we are reinforcing the idea that anything which goes wrong is somebody else's fault (who shall be sued, of course).

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: My dog cant play with Sticks.

      "Warning, you are approaching a cliff, Do an emergency stop and make a U-Turn".

      "Click here for definition of 'U-Turn'."

  20. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    UK encouraging Darwinism

    I nearly entered the Darwin Awards last week.

    There is an increasing tendency to move pedestrian 'green man' lights from across the road and facing those crossing to being sideways on. Unfortunately that now means, at some junctions, the 'green man' across the road does not reflect the safety of crossing from where one is standing.

    Having seen the 'green man' facing me it was only subconscious habit to still look both ways that saved me - thank you Tufty and Mr Green Cross Man.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: UK encouraging Darwinism

      thank you Tufty and Mr Green Cross Man.

      "Meeow mmr meooow mur meoww!"

      "Charlie says, 'You're welcome'."

  21. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

    ....near the local university

    I am tempted to say "that explains a lot".

    Where I live the trams have a right of way over pedestrian crossing. The drivers _do_ use that, for example by accelerating (from standing) right into a crowd. The "bing bing bing" is _not_ an effective warning sign I must say. They should rather have a _loud_ horn, plus a bright light for the deaf.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: ....near the local university

      My job often takes me onto university campuses. Never have I met a such a bunch of rude, impolite and self-important bunch of twats. They habitually walk in wide groups and DO NOT have even the slightest notion of politeness when it comes to passing other people, especially when I'm carrying stuff.. These days I just barge through them. The flight-case can hurt. I don't care any more. If you can't beat them, join them

  22. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Hollow Man meets Iron Man

    I'm 6'5 and over 20 stone. I'm fucking invisible apparently. Thinking of getting an Iron Man suit just so they make a noise when they hit me which is apparently all my fault.

    I used to be an expert on speed reaction games but a city pavement is beyond my ken.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Hollow Man meets Iron Man

      "Get out of the way you fat fuck!"

      Only joking, here's a beer token. Can I have my teeth back?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Hollow Man meets Iron Man

        Thanks for the beer. Your teeth are safe - I always work on the principle that when your my size and someone wants a fight its best to treat it as a joke, if that doesnt work standing up has a high success rate. If that doesnt work my next impression is Jessie Owens.

  23. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    We already had a solution to this in the '70s / '80s

    It was called the green cross code, and involved educating people about looking where they are going when crossing a road.

    Tackle the cause, not the symptoms.

    And bring back David Prowse, although he's a little less impressive these days...

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: We already had a solution to this in the '70s / '80s

      In my day (not saying, but earlier than the 70s), we had "Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again. If no traffic is near, walk swiftly into the path of the oncoming P Plater*"

      * P Platers are an indigenous form of life found mainly in the Western suburbs of Sydney. They are notable for the ferocious speed with which they can accelerate their WRX Subarus while simultaneously texting, eating a BigMac, adjusting their 100% light blocking sunnies and tuning the car radio to WSFM.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To make matters worse, some of our Erbsenzähler are even bean counters as well!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't German great?

    German is full of great words. F'rinstance, Ascension Day in German is, apparently, Christi Himmelfahrt, which sounds so much better.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: Isn't German great?

      "Corpus Christi" is "Fronleichnam" which I like to (re-)translate as "happy cadaver".

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "a 15-year-old girl was killed when she stepped in front of a tram while looking at her smartphone and listening to music."

    I've seen that happen. It was a man in his 40s-50s and he was just absent-minded without a phone but he stepped right in front of an oncoming tram, just that fraction of a sec too late for any of us to be able to do anything apart from kicking into first aid mode.

    I'd never thought a tram could stop, quite literally, dead on its tracks. It was like glued to the Earth. Latter on I found they use massive electromagnets against the rails.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Trams

      So, not only run over by a tram, but had all his amalgam fillings magnetized into the bargain.

  27. dervheid


    Nothing like a little game of "Block the Zombie"

    Spot the 'dead-to-the-world' target approaching on a busy pavement.

    Stop dead in front of them.

  28. Stevie Silver badge


    Anyone wandering out into the road while smart phoning is In Play.

    The only legitimate debate is: how many points are they worth?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remove the zombies from society

    These people are dangerous to society and should be fined 10K Euros the first time. The second time they need to do 6 months jail time. If there is a third time they belong in a padded cell where they won't harm themselves or other people.

  30. Slickwilly

    Off just now to the patent office...

    A smartphone with a white cane extension on it, in fact, perhaps some of those selfie sticks which were so popular for about a week last year could be repurposed...

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ A number of you here

    Those of you making what I imagine you may consider witty comments, along the line of "let Darwin take its course", "get rid of the zombies", etc.

    I'm sorry to say this, but you chaps are worthless scum.

    I used to work in the emergency services in my younger days and I've been to my fair share of accidents. Each and every victim, from every walk of life, had family and friends behind, and co-workers, acquaintances, neighbours, ... people who in one way or another cared about them.

    That 15 year old girl who walked into the path of a tram was also someone's daughter. Just as easily it could be your daughter, sister, cousin, or friend next time.

    It could also be you (especially you, since you're clearly not the sharpest tools in the shed). Rest assured though, that my colleagues still in the emergency services won't "let Darwin takes its course", because they are decent people, as I hope you will learn to be some day.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: @ A number of you here

      The comments are in general witty and I would point out that it ain't the ones making fun who are ultimately responsible for you not feeling like anything for dinner after you finish your shift. What exactly do you expect the driver who hits some stupid idiot without the brains god gave a cowpat to do anyway? Other than get into therapy for the inevitable mental trauma, that is.

      We have train drivers here who have been at the throttle when a drunk or depressed moron has swan dived in front of the train, and who are never going to get back behind the throttle even after months of therapy because how many times can you watch someone burst six inches from your face?

      Stick the blame where it belongs fot fuck's sake: with the phone phuckwit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ A number of you here

        > The comments are in general witty

        Perhaps in the same way as the comments and behaviour reported in this article are witty. Which is to say: not at all. It's the same sort of internet cowardice that characterises those lacking the social skills to live a proper, fulfilling life.

        > Stick the blame where it belongs

        People are surprised at the number of accident victims who break into a sob and start repeating "why did this happen to me? why did this happen to me?" Yup. They never thought they could possibly end up in those situations. They thought those things only ever happened to some other "idiot".

        > I would point out that it ain't the ones making fun

        You are not "making fun". If you think your comments are in any way funny, please get your head looked into. Seriously.

        > who are ultimately responsible for you not feeling like anything for dinner after you finish your shift.

        The times when we didn't feel like eating, that I remember, were: dealing with old people after their lifelong partner passed away, dealing with relatives of victims, dealing with victims who were known to us (family and friends), and kids.

        I will take the opportunity to suggest to anyone who want to do something useful and interesting with their lives to go and join their local fire brigade, or train and get a part-time job in the ambulance service.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: @ A number of you here

          What I see here, is someone (who wishes to remain anonymous) who is the sort of person who likes to take offence on behalf of others. I've not read anything here that really warrants the sort of name calling that this AC is doing.

          Nobody appears to be saying that people who don't look where they are going should actually be killed.

          Most of us can tell the difference between a joke and seriousness, and even if we don't find the joke funny, or find it to be in poor taste, don't find the need to throw our toys out of the pram.

          Nevertheless, personal responsibility is actually a thing. When someone walks in front of a tram because they don't pay attention to what they are doing it is their fault; nobody else's. They may end up dead, the tram driver will end up traumatised. This sort of safety measure (LEDs on a pavement) may make a difference, but it is a sticking plaster over the actual cause, which is a society in which the concept of personal responsibility is undervalued.

          As I previously said, we used to have the Green Cross Code. We had 'Stop', 'Look', 'Listen'. We had the Tufty Club. What we are lacking is the modern equivalent. The problem isn't new - in the '80s we had people wearing Walkmans strolling into traffic, but seems to be getting worse.

          Perhaps because we don't teach our children how to properly assess risk, so that they think that they are perfectly safe when bombing it along on the pavement on a bicycle, wearing headphones whilst texting, but are petrified with inaction when some criminal blows themselves up on a bus or in an airport. Most people don't understand that they are far more likely to die in a traffic accident than due to an act of terrorism, yet our governments have policies of spending the money where there is the biggest perceived impact. We fritter it away on security theatre in our airports that achieves little but costs millions, whilst omitting to run those public information campaigns that cost little, but actually educate people and save lives.

          Anyway, I've wandered a little off topic - rather than being all high and mighty in a very self-important fashion, maybe you (AC) should accept that others are entitled to their sense of humour, even if you don't find it funny, and even if it is in poor taste. After all, most humour is in some way in poor taste.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: @ It's the same sort of internet cowardice

          Says the person hiding behind the ac monicker. Nice one.

          Sorry mate, gallows humour is a fact of life. Your outrage is misplaced as are your tales of sad old people.

          Where I live we've lost a few young people to being run down by trains on grade crossings. Crossings are protected by barriers that come down about fifteen seconds before the train arrives. Trains sound an earsplitting ait horn with THREE blasts as they approach. And yet the smartphone phuckwits still get mown down.

          This is in no way, shape or form the fault of anyone but the squishee.

          And of course the bill for the cleanup and the lawsuits and the therapy for the engineer and the organ collection team and police units on site (who are the ones I feel sorry for) goes to the taxpayer.

          So no. I don't think I'll take your misplaced rage-induced advice. I'm not the one needs my head examining. That treatment should be given to anyone who survives the inevitable result of their own brainless behaviour.

          I'm on record here and elsewhere in my belief that there should be laws against people owning portable electronics that are more intelligent than they themselves are. This nonsense just strengthens my position.

  33. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    They're fixated on the smartphone screen so...

    ....they don't see the kerb (International sign meaning "YOUR BIT ENDS HERE. WATCH OUT FOR BRMMM BRMMMS")... why do we imagine they'll see a light?

    How about making smartphones where the screen doesn't illuminate as you move at walking pace? Fine in the car. Fine while stopped. But if you're walking DON'T LOOK AT THE PHOINE!

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