Pokémon GO has been all the rage lately.
Pokémon GO is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. The game works by using your phone’s GPS for your real-world location and augmented reality to bring up those cool-looking Pokémon on your screen, overlaid on top of what you see in front of you. In short, it’s a mobile gaming app that lets you catch Pokémon in real life.
The craze seems to be driving (no pun intended) some people a tad too crazy.
There have been several accidents on the road reported since the launch of the gaming app as a result of people playing Pokémon GO while driving. You DO NOT want to be like this driver, who crashed his car while playing Pokémon GO, or like this driver, who crashed into a police car while playing Pokémon GO.
That being said, would you really want to be on the road when other drivers are distracted catching Pokémon? Maybe it’s time to consider taking this as an opportunity to try a new mode for your commute.
Why Should I Care? What’s In It for Me?
Pokémon GO gives us another reason to walk to work! But, why?
Think of all the Pokémon you could add to your Pokédex. Think of all the items you could be collecting from the Poké Stops you pass. Think of all the Pokémon eggs you could be hatching right now.
But on a serious note, there are a lot of benefits to playing Pokémon GO for Arlington County and your personal health and wellness. In fact, it directly correlates to the benefits of public transportation and active transportation.
For instance, playing the game can seriously help you get to the health and wellness level that you’ve always been meaning to achieve. Pokémon GO can be the exercise app that actually works, forcing you to move to progress within the game.
Also, since Pokémon GO requires you to walk, this could mean less single occupancy vehicles (SOV) on the road. That means (1) less traffic, and (2) more sustainability.
Walking is a great mode of sustainable transportation that can help decrease gas emissions and increase Arlington’s environmental friendliness.
More Pokémon GO = More Exercise = Greater Wellness and Health
More Pokémon GO = More Walking = Less Single Occupancy Vehicles (SOV) = Less Traffic AND Greater Sustainability
Give your dog a break and instead of taking your dog out for his sixth walk of the day, try incorporating Pokémon GO into your normal routine by catching Pokémon during your commute to work.
Now, here are some tips on how to be the very best, like no one ever was:
1. Travel across the land, searching far and wide - by planning alternative commute routes and take a detour to work
Just make sure not to be late for work. It’ll be hard to explain to your boss that you were 15 minutes late for a meeting trying to catch a Bulbasaur outside the office (although, if it were a MewTwo, your boss might understand).
2. DO NOT Bikeshare while playing Pokémon GO (with one exception)
Capital Bikeshare is a great alternative mode of transportation, but not if you’re planning on catching Pokémon. Keeping your eyes on the road, hands on the handlebars and feet pedaling at the right speed is enough to keep your mind preoccupied to even think about catching any Pokémon.
Bikeshare is one of the safest forms of commuting available! It isn’t bikeshare that’s dangerous, but distracted biking that’s dangerous. Just like there are dangers to distracted driving, the same applies to distracted biking.
…but what about the exception?
Oh, yea. ATP GO tip for those of you who end up on Capital Bikeshare regularly: biking counts towards hatching eggs. Make sure to have the app running when you board the bike, just ensure the phone is in your pocket so you aren’t distracted. Biking counts towards your kilometer goals and you’ll have a brand new Pokémon hatching in no time!
The game determines egg distances based on a combination of your phones internal pedometer + your traveling speed, so people driving cars don’t get a “walking distance”.
3. Be aware of your surroundings.
Just because you aren’t driving doesn’t mean you can’t be distracted. You can still be distracted while biking or walking and become less aware of your surroundings. You may forget to look both ways at crosswalks while playing Pokémon GO, or forget to check if the walk sign is on before crossing.
It’s my personal dream to catch a Pikachu. I’m with you. If a wild Pikachu appeared on the other side of the street when the Do Not Cross sign was on, I’d be tempted to run across. But as much as we want to catch that Pikachu, and I’m all for having fun, it’s most important to be safe.
4. If it’s raining and walking isn’t an option, consider taking the bus.
It’s still possible to catch Pokémon in a fast moving vehicle – so long as you aren’t the one at the wheel.
ART and Metrobus have stops all throughout the region. Since buses make stops to acquire additional passengers, there are more opportunities to catch Pokémon! The trick is to make sure you spin for your free items at Poké Stops as quickly as you can before you are too far away to take advantage. Also, make sure you click on Pokémon that appear quickly – once you start the “battle” to catch them it doesn’t matter how far you travel, the battle will continue! If you want to learn more about the differences between ART and Metrobus, click here.
Go on, catch them all. You deserve it!