Japan changes escalator rules after increase in number of accidents

People are being asked not to walk up or down the escalators at all

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The Independent Online

New rules have been introduced in Japan for people using escalators after a spate of injuries and accidents.

People are being asked not to walk up or down the escalators at all, instead to simply stand on the step, hold the handrail, and leave a gap of one step between the next person.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, a total of 3,865 people have been admitted to hospitals after accidents on escalators between 2011 and 2013, with the majority reportedly caused by people falling or being knocked over.

In Tokyo, people traditionally stand on the left side of an escalator to allow others to ascend or descend on the right.

This is believed to have originated from practises in wartime London in 1944, where people would leave the left side open for people who were in a hurry.

"It is not necessary to leave one side open," an official of the Japan Elevator Association – comprised of elevator and escalator makers – told the Yomiuri. "There are some people who have an arm or hand that is incapable of functioning and have difficulty in keeping a specific side clear.”

Last month a woman in China was killed after a metal panel at the top of an escalator gave way and she fell through the structure.

Video footage captured the moment and showed the woman, named as 30-year-old Xiang Liujuan, pushing her two-year-old son to safety.