Pedestrian safety is a major issue in New York City and across the United States. More often than not pedestrian knockdowns occur when drivers fail to abide by traffic laws, but sometimes pedestrians create unsafe conditions by engaging in dangerous activities, like texting and walking. In recent years thousands of pedestrians have sustained preventable injuries or injured others due to distraction. Distracted walking is a serious problem that appears to be getting worse instead of better.
In July, Pokemon, a phenomenon that seemed to have died out years ago, made a colossal comeback. The Pokemon brand released a free new mobile app, ‘Pokemon Go’, which became an overnight sensation. Users begin playing by creating an avatar to represent themselves in the game, which syncs with the gamer’s real life location (via their phone’s camera and GPS) to create the game’s surroundings. The avatar’s movements are dependent on the users, when a user begins physically moving their avatar does as well, propelling the gamer into a half virtual, half real life journey to find and capture ‘wild Pokemon.’
While the game is rapidly gaining popularity, safety advocates fear the new craze adds a whole new dimension to pedestrian distraction. Users playing on busy streets and in densely populated areas risk becoming a victim of a pedestrian knockdown, falling, or seriously hurting others around.
Before gaming users should carefully consider where they are playing and who they are playing with. There has already been a reported instance of criminals using the app to lure unsuspecting gamers to particular locations, where they later were robbed.
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