MYTH – If an escalator is standing still, it is just a set of stairs.
TRUTH – Escalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking and should not be used in that manner. The risk of falling or tripping is increased when they are used this way.
MYTH - "correct height for normal walking" is a universal standard that applies to everyone.
TRUTH - Some tall people find regular stairs too small for comfortable walking, and find walking up an escalator easier. If average sized people shouldn't be walking on escalator stairs, I shouldn't be walking on normal stairs.
Izawwlgood wrote:Huh, a bit of googling says that the average height for stairs is ~7.5 inches, while the average height of escalator steps is ~8.5 inches. Even if they're a tad taller than normal stairs, they're certainly not prohibitively so.
That makes escalator steps about 13% taller than normal stairs. I'm 6'4" (76 inches) and find the 8.5" comfortable, meaning the 7.5" would be good for 5'7" (67 inches).
I usually walk up escalators, but never thought about why before reading this thread. It's not just the extra height that matches my stride, it's the corresponding extra depth of the horizontal surface giving me more space to rest my foot. The stairs in my house are close to 7.5", and I walk down them at a 45 degree angle so the balls and toes of my feet are on the steps. Standing on both sides of an escalator denies people like me our rare chance to walk up stairs comfortably in our miserable, lower-back pain ridden, bumping our heads on everything lives.
Counter argument in favor of standing: Once, I was standing on a down escalator at the Mall of NH. The escalators there are oriented in an X, with one line of the X being down, the other up. I was several steps beind a young man who was leaning over the escalator, with his head turned around, looking at something (or someone) on the upper level, near the entrance of the down escalator.
I did not see what he was looking at, since I was watching him, wondering if he was going to straighten his posture before the motion of the down escalator brought him to the point where he'd bonk his head on the up escalator. He did not. He was smiling as he rubbed the impact point, so neither his pride nor his head seemed to be hurt all that much. Perhaps twenty years later, I'm still delighted when I think of this man receiving a completely avoidable minor injury. Had I walked that day, I'd've missed it.