Philadelphia to Ticket People for Texting While Walking [UPDATE]

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Correction Appended: July 19, 2011

UPDATE: Awww. It’s not true. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter himself took to Twitter, saying, “It is NOT illegal to text and walk in Philly. You will NOT be fined. You will NOT be ticketed.” Carry on, then. No gold-paved streets after all. — [via Philly.com and this person, who seems nice]

Back in May, Philadelphia rolled out a program called “Give Respect, Get Respect” which was “aimed at reining in bad behavior by motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians in Center City,” according to CBS Philly.

We’ve all seen bicyclists riding in traffic yet blowing through red lights, and cars drifting over into bike lanes—this is the kind of stuff Philadelphia wants to address. Up until now, the program has reportedly resulted in “mostly warnings” being handed out, but the city’s preparing to start ticketing people.

“After the first several months of doing that, we really need to pick up the enforcement side and really get serious,” said Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler.

(MORE: Is It O.K. to Eat While Texting?)

So starting next month, fines of up to $120 will be levied against bicyclists “riding on the sidewalk or running red lights” and “drivers who don’t respect the bike lanes,” says CBS Philly.

But the crown jewel in this plan? “Pedestrians who text while they walk without looking ahead will also be targeted.”

Golf clap for Philadelphia.

Look around the next time you’re in a big city and notice how many people are looking at their phones, blissfully unaware of their surroundings. Then imagine each of them getting a $120 ticket. Philadelphia will surely be able to pave its streets in gold and its bike lanes in platinum.

(VIDEO: The Best ‘No Texting in the Movie Theater’ PSA Ever)

The city is using grant money to “cover the costs of the increased enforcement,” according to CBS Philly. They could seriously target only people who text while they’re walking and hit their yearly revenue target within the first week. Hell, make this a federal law and we’ll see the National Debt Clock in Manhattan actually move backwards, we can reinstate the manned space program, and our schools will have 1:1 teacher to student ratios.

Oh, and safety will increase too, so there’s that. Hooray for not getting hit by cars or bikes or walking into poles or falling into holes.

[via CNET]

Correction appended: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says, “It is NOT illegal to text and walk in Philly. You will NOT be fined. You will NOT be ticketed.”

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