Power-walking through the city you look down at your phone to answer a text. Your legs carry you forward in a state of caffeinated-autopilot and you are so focussed on crafting a hilarious one-liner to your latest Tinder-match (or responding carefully to a client) that you almost completely forget you are moving. We’ve all been there, no?

Judging by the increasing number of pedestrian fatalities worldwide (and the amount of people I bumped into last week), smartphone-induced ‘zombie-ism’ is an increasing phenomenon. Beside proving Scott Fitzgerald’s premise that “a bad driver is only safe until they meet another bad driver,” smartphones are making us less and less sociable.

While most people with a Facebook page and an opinion have called this behaviour out as an embarrassing hallmark of a generation gone wrong, a shopping mall in North West China appears to have embraced the trend, deciding instead to cater to smartphone addicts by providing a walking lane designated for people who can’t be bothered to look up from their phones.

Although the gesture may have been intended as an ironic way to gain publicity (the “path for the special use of the heads-down tribe” features signs imploring users not to “look down for the rest of your life”) people seem to have taken it seriously, and the lane has experienced no shortage of device wielding zombies.

http://www.dmarge.com/ Smartphone lane in the Bairui Plaza shopping mall in Xi’an, Shaanxi.

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