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A pingpong game while waiting to cross the road?

January 22, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

I’ve written about the dancing crosswalk signal, where the red stop signal is actually the figure of a real person dancing in real time, that’s designed to keep people from walking mindlessly into the road in front of oncoming traffic.

Well, now there’s another option with the same safety goal of preventing pedestrian accidents, but this one includes pingpong.

Take a look at “StreetPong,” a new art installation installed on traffic lights by Urban Invention in Hildesheim, Germany.

Here’s how it works: The pingpong game is played by two people on either side of the intersection while waiting for that green man to appear. But instead of real paddles and pingpong balls, this version is touch screen, featuring skateboards and a football. Still, it’s generally a standard take on pingpong.

Although StreetPong and Dancing Crosswalk Signals sound cute, pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents are terribly serious. In Michigan, where I’m an attorney and primarily handle auto accident cases, there were 2,392 pedestrians involved in motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents in 2013.  That left 149 pedestrians killed and 1,941 injured in 2013, according to the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts from the Office of Highway Safety Planning.

Crosswalk pingpong is another novel idea with the same admirable goal of preventing pedestrians from being hit by cars and trucks.

I have no idea if either of these ideas will catch on in Michigan, but in the meantime, let’s all  remember the safety rules we all learned in childhood: Stop, look and listen.  Look left, right, left and then cross safely.

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