Someone's finally invented the pedestrian bell

Pedestrians, beware. Images: Runbell.

Bikes, cars and vans all have bells or horns to warn people of their presence. But until now, humans only had the sound of their own voice, which, to be honest, is often less than efficient in moving people out of your way. But now, finally, someone has invented a way to warn passerby of your presence in the shrillest way possible. 

The Runbell (tagline: "run rings around people") was invented to help joggers move through city crowds by ringing a small, finger-mounted bell. We imagine it would come in handy while walking through crowds of slow-walking texters and tourists, too. 

The bell comes in two colours - gold and "rose gold" - and looks pleasingly like a knuckle duster:

The idea isn't dissimilar to the "phone lane", trialled in Chongqing, China, where those on their phones had to walk separately from faster-moving pedestrians.

The bell's creators, who originally raised funds for the project through Kickstarter, describe the product as

A sleek, stylish wearable bell for runners, solving the problem of how to courteously warn pedestrians on shared pathways.

We're not sure how "courteous"  it is to force people to move by ringing a bell at them, but each to their own. 


Podcast: Beyond the wall, with John Lanchester

A sea wall in Japan. Image: Getty.

This week it’s another live episode, of sorts. In early April I was lucky enough to chair an event at the Cambridge Literary Festival with the journalist and novelist John Lanchester.

John was mostly there to promote his latest novel, The Wall, a “cli-fi” book about a Britain trundling on after catastrophic climate change has wiped out much of the planet. In the past he’s also written about other vaguely CityMetric-y topics like the housing crisis and the tube - so he’s a guest I’ve been hoping to get on for a while, and was kind enough to allow us to record our chat for posterity and podcasting purposes.

Incidentally, I didn’t find a way of turning the conversation to the tube. We do lose ten minutes to talking about Game of Thrones, though.

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.

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