Safety madness, chapter 501

The Toronto Transit Commission has not only removed the “walk left, stand right” signs from its escalators, it’s also suggesting that no one should walk on the escalators at all:

“The intent is for the escalator to carry people up the escalator. If they are capable of walking, they should be utilizing the stairs.

Now, being impatient by nature, I’m all for taking the stairs where possible — which would not include, say, King station at rush hour, Union station on the weekend, or any number of other locations where the escalator is effectively the only way to go up or down while the stairs take traffic going in the opposite direction. But I digress.

The reason we should all “step on carefully, hold the handrail, ride all the way to the stop, and then step off” escalators, to quote the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation of Canada, is because it’s unsafe to walk on a moving staircase.

If only the TTC statistics published with the Globe and Mail story corroborated this assertion:

Number of TTC riders injured on escalators last year: 138

Number injured on stairs: 191

I look forward to next year’s press release detailing the reduction in anticipated escalator injuries — but I won’t expect to see any statistics about stairs on it.