Heads Up! Pause Your Play When Crossing Tracks and Streets

You see it wherever you go, whether you’re on MAX, a bus, or walking down the street: heads down, staring at a smartphone.

Or maybe you don’t see it because you’re also texting, checking email, scrolling through Facebook or liking pictures on Instagram. Last November, we released this close-call video, in which pedestrians wearing earbuds crossed right in front of a train, seemingly unaware. Now we’re releasing new videos we hope will get people’s attention to “pay attention” when crossing streets and tracks, and when biking as well.

Hold that thought

Hold That Thought

Before you take a look at those videos, stop and consider this: Have you ever bumped into something or someone because you were distracted by your phone? A study by the Pew Research Center found that 53 percent of all adult cell phone users have bumped into something or someone — or have been on the receiving end of a bump — due to distracted walking. Those in the 18-to-24 age range run into this problem even more, with 51 percent admitting to doing the bumping and 71 percent saying they’ve been the “bumpee.” It might look funny on YouTube when it involves a fountain — not so much when it involves a train or bus.

We’ve launched a new safety campaign encouraging people to Pause your play and Hold that thought when crossing train tracks or streets. (You may have noticed the signs on buses, trains and bus stops.) Whether listening to music, talking with a friend, texting or scanning your phone, take just a moment to pause the distraction and be aware of your surroundings before you go.

Stay Alert. Stay Alive.

Every day, bus and rail operators contend with distracted pedestrians and cyclists crossing against signals and showing a lack of awareness around their vehicles. While they do their part to operate our buses and trains safely, we need you to do your part too.

  • Stop, look up from devices and look both ways
  • Obey signals
  • Remove headphones or an earbud, or stop the conversation while crossing
  • Don’t run across, even if it means waiting for the next walk signal or catching the next bus or train
  • Make sure umbrellas, hoods and other apparel don’t block your view

Our cameras captured the following videos. These aren’t meant to shame anyone, but to show how dangerous a lack of awareness is. We want everyone to stay alert and stay alive.

Roberta Altstadt

Roberta Altstadt

I’m TriMet’s public information officer. I communicate with the news media on all TriMet-related topics. When I’m not busy working, I like learning new skills, gardening, and going for walks with my sweet three-legged dog, Ernie.

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