Escalator Safety Tips, Myths & Truths


Before entering escalators:

  1. Do not use canes, walkers or wheeled vehicles on an escalator.
  2. Do not ride an escalator barefoot or with loose shoelaces.
  3. Confirm the direction of the moving steps before stepping onto the escalator.

When entering escalators:

  1. Step on and off promptly. Take extra care if you are wearing bifocals.
  2. Hold children or small packages firmly with one hand.
  3. Grasp the handrail as you step promptly onto the moving step.

When riding escalators:

  1. Stand toward the middle of the step – away from the sides and face forward.
  2. Keep loose clothing clear of steps and sides.
  3. Keep a firm grip on the handrail.
  4. Reposition your hand slowly if the handrail moves ahead or behind the steps.
  5. Do not rest your handbag or parcels on the handrail.
  6. Pay attention. Do not day dream or gaze about while riding.
  7. Do not lean against the side.

When exiting escalators:

  1. Do not hesitate. Step off promptly.
  2. Immediately move clear of the escalator exit area. Do not stop to talk or look around. Other passengers may be behind you.

Escalators have been designed with your safety in mind. The following safety features have been built into all escalators:

  1. The handrail and the moving steps are designed to move at the same rate to help people keep their balance.
  2. Handrails extend several feet into the entry to help passengers adjust to the correct speed before stepping on.
  3. Brakes and a shutoff are automatically activated if the speed is too fast or too slow.
  4. In the event of an emergency, push one of the Stop buttons located at the top or bottom landings of the escalator at the handrail or the floor level.

Check to find the emergency stop button the next time you ride.


MYTH – The biggest myth is that you don’t have to pay much attention to them.
TRUTH – An escalator is a six ton moving machine and should be treated as such. They require the same level of respect as a moving automobile.

MYTH – A common myth is that the steps could flatten out and cause people to slide down.
TRUTH – Each step is a full triangular structure consisting of a tread and riser supported on a track. They cannot flatten out.

MYTH – Many people think that escalators move too fast.
TRUTH – An escalator moves at half the normal walking speed of 90 to 120 feet per minute. This misconception is believed to be caused when someone is standing still on an escalator and everything around them appears to be moving.

MYTH – Escalators can reach out and grab you.
TRUTH – No part of an escalator can do this. However, people must be careful of loose clothing, untied shoelaces, high heels, long hair, jewelry and any other item that might get caught in an escalator.

MYTH – Escalators will stop and restart themselves.
TRUTH – Escalators only stop when someone when someone activates the specially designed STOP button, or when there is an obstruction, overspeed, or underspeed of the steps or handrails.

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 – Children often believe that the steps fall into the basement and have to be restacked each day.
TRUTH – Escalator steps move on an endless chain system. On a down traveling escalator, the steps rotate under at the bottom and move up the underside of the chain to reappear at the top