It Turns Out You Cannot Get Fined for Texting and Walking in Philadelphia

Phillies_fans_textingPhoto: AP, Matt Slocumb

6 ABC just spit some truth all over the interwebtuals. A number of websites and blogs ran with a story from, which said people texting on their phones would be targeted in the city's Give Respect, Get Respect campaign, an initiative to rid the city of jackass bicyclists and pedestrians (good luck with that).

Here are excerpts from the CBS Philly story:

But Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler says starting in August, more citations will be issued.

Pedestrians who text while they walk without looking ahead will also be targeted. And on the motorist side, officials will be looking for drivers who don’t respect the bike lanes.

The citations include $120 fines.


Today, a number of sites (CNET, Digital Journal, and Gawker) all picked up on the juicy part of the story: $120 fines for texting and walking. Only, the article never explicitly said that. 

Texting and walking WILL be a focus of the Give Respect, Get Respect program, but that doesn't mean you will get a fine for being on your phone. The city is just trying to raise awareness.

6 ABC clears things up:

The stories quoted Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler.

However, when contacted by Action News on Tuesday, Cutler said that is not true. Furthermore, she questioned how such a law could even be enforced.


So there you have it. You can continue reading this article as you stroll across Broad Street. Look out: car!

Of course, bicyclists (and other egregious offenders) not obeying laws will be subject to fines. While that is a penalty I can get behind, I much prefer the solution offered up by my Drivers' Ed teacher when I was in high school: If you see a bicyclist coming, stop and open your door.*

That might work better.

UPDATE: The Mayor confirms it Screen shot 2011-07-19 at 11.24.30 AM

Carry on with your texting.

*Thanks to some overly sensitive readers, I must clarify that is a joke.


4 Responses

  1. Here’s an idea, instead of worrying about BS like this why don’t they actually focus on fixing things that matter. You know the failing school system, city budget crisis and drugs might be good places to start.

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