For years now, the perils of texting while walking have been alarmingly clear. Just check out the videos of people falling into fountains, bumping into walls or getting clipped by turning cars while their eyes are on the screen.

Everyone is aware. Few change their behavior. OK, no one does. Confession: Some of us on the Tribune Editorial Board are among those distracted sidewalk texters.

What to do? Lawmakers in Honolulu and elsewhere have alighted on a solution: Pass a law! Outlaw texting or talking on a smartphone in crosswalks and ticket violators.

We’d like to say that Chicago officials dismissed such foolishness as a potential distraction for police who have far more important duties.

Unfortunately, not. Aldermen Edward Burke and Anthony Beale propose fines of up to $500 on pedestrians caught texting or using a cellphone while walking through an intersection.

We don’t dismiss the dangers of walking while texting. People do get hurt. They veer off course or dawdle while the light changes. Or they step into the crosswalk prematurely.


But enforcing such a law looks to be virtually impossible. And $500?

Crossing the street in Chicago demands quick instincts and exquisite leg-eye coordination. Bulletin to all you people at the wheel of a 4,000-pound vehicle: You are are supposed to yield to the people on two legs, even if their noses are buried in a smartphone.

Other sidewalk hazards abound. In the winter, ice and slush pool at the curb to create a steeple-jump situation.

Refraining from texting or talking distractedly, particularly in crosswalks, is a spectacularly good idea. We wish more people would do that.

So watch where you’re going, everyone. And, yes, we’ll try to take our own advice.

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