back to article Canadian woman fined for not holding escalator handrail finally reaches the top after 10 years

A Canadian woman fined for failing to hold on to an escalator handrail in 2009 has finally reached the Supreme Court in her search for justice. Bela Kosoian was using the subway in Laval near Montreal in 2009 when a police officer told her to respect a warning sign, in French, saying "Caution, hold the handrail", CTV News …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Good luck to her.

  2. OssianScotland

    Other escalator laws

    Will the same police officer try enforcing the "dogs must be carried" regulation - I have seen far too many people going both up and down escalators without a canine companion. Such disregard for the law must, surely, be punished?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Other escalator laws

      The problem is that it could interfere with other standing laws accommodating of disabled people (seeing eye dogs for the blind, signal dogs for the deaf, and guard dogs for epileptics, all covered under the American ADA, does Canada have an equivalent?).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other escalator laws

        *wooosh*

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Other escalator laws

          There are many curious bylaws that were consolidated into actual proper law in the Transport Act 2000. For example, and the one applicable here, one must comply with any reasonable direction given by an appointed representative of the railway company. So if you are, say, asked to leave a station by a staff member, but refuse, you've actually broken a criminal law rather than a civil one. Similarly if they instructed you to hop on one leg whilst rubbing your tummy and patting your head, that's not reasonable, but telling you to hold the handrail is reasonable.

          The more curious ones:

          If there's a sign directing you to queue for a ticket, you must queue for a ticket. Even if you don't need one or already have one? The law doesn't mention that! You can't play music to the annoyance of others. Tsch tsch tsch tsch tsch earpods. If carrying a scythe, the blade must at all times be firmly wrapped in stout hessian. You hear that, Death? You must be able to manage your own luggage. Yes, that's the law!

          Unfortunately there's no law banning bloody bags on wheels, and it's dubious if the rules on considerate use of escalators extend to making sharp 90 degree turns at the top and walking across the path of people trying to step off (read - being thrown off by the forward momentum) the other side.

          1. Drew Scriver

            Re: Other escalator laws

            ASD reigns supreme on El Reg today.

            Gives me a headache. Just wished I could take something for that, but all the pill bottles I checked warn me not to take any pills if the seal's been broken.

            I'm surrounded by stacks of open pill bottles - looking for one that didn't come sealed.

            Maybe I should cut the bottom off the next one?

            :-)

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Other escalator laws

              Maybe I should cut the bottom off the next one?

              Maybe you can just absorb the aura of the drugs without opening the bottle and gain the result required via the magical Law of Contagion..

              1. The First Dave Silver badge

                Re: Other escalator laws

                Correct me if I'm wrong, but the label probably says something along the lines of "Always read the instructions." Note the full stop, and that it says this on way more things than any one person can hold at one time, never mind read.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Other escalator laws

      I'm allergic to dogs, does that mean I need a letter from my mum before using an escalator?

      1. The Nazz Silver badge

        Re: Other escalator laws

        I only went to the local secondary school and thus what to know, what is an escalator?

        My best guess, having heard the teachers mention it so often, is the mechanism for teaching staff to receive a (considerable) increase in pay without actually getting a pay rise*. I can't see why they wouldn't want to grasp such a thing with both hands.

        *actually displayed to me by the SO and those of her rellies who work in the public sector.

    3. elDog Silver badge

      Re: Other escalator laws

      Other commentards didn't seem to understand that "dogs must be carried" implies that if you don't have a carry-on dog you can't ride the escalator.

      Sounds like there's a good business for short-term dog rentals at each end of the moving staircases. I think one loonie per up/down would be sufficient.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Other escalator laws

        "Sounds like there's a good business for short-term dog rentals at each end of the moving staircases"

        Tricky. Central London, morning rush hour, either you have a lot of dogs at the bottom of the escalator to start with or you've got to replenish the supply by getting them back down again afterwards. Can one person carry several dogs down? Or can you have a slide to return them? If the latter how do you work it in the evening rush hour?

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Other escalator laws

          Tricky. Central London, morning rush hour, either you have a lot of dogs at the bottom of the escalator to start with or you've got to replenish the supply by getting them back down again afterwards.

          Well it depends on just what type of 'dog' would satisfy the regulations. given I suspect the term 'dog' hasn't been qualified, you could probably get away with a small soft toy dog.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Other escalator laws

            obviously ought to use corgwn (corgis in Americanese)

            1. PC Paul

              Re: Other escalator laws

              Corgwn looks more Weslh to me.

              1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: Other escalator laws

                Corgwyn is Welsh as I believ are the origins of the breed - just to be pedantic :-)

            2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: Other escalator laws

              obviously ought to use corgwn

              Hmm.. the use of a breed known to be more snappy than other small breeds - what could go wrong?

              (I like Corgi dogs - but their heritage as cattle-driving dogs that were bred and trained to nip at the heels of the cattle with their teeth in order to drive them along does seem to have left their mark on the breed..)

          2. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: Other escalator laws

            > it depends on just what type of 'dog' would satisfy the regulations

            Hot dogs, corn dogs and all similar single use dogs would be perfect for this. Just put a vendor on the relevant end of the stairs.

        2. Tim99 Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Other escalator laws

          No, they set up a special "small carry dog" training school. The dogs are trained to form an orderly pack at the entrance to the escalator and wait to be picked up by a human. They then wait for a lift at the exit - When the doors open and a sufficient number of dogs have entered the lift an especially trained intelligent dog (a Border Collie?) pushes the button to operate the lift. The dogs wait until the door opens after their trip and join the queue again at the entrance. The lift may need to be partitioned to keep the dogs separate from other travellers. I'm sure a Transport for London working group can be set up to carry out a feasibility study: Perhaps the dogs can also be trained to sniff for drugs or explosives on their human carriers?

          Mine's the one with the chihuahua in the pocket >======>

          1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

            Re: Other escalator laws

            In my experience, Border Collies would be over qualified, but with suitable training (electric cattle prods?) MBA grads might siffice at a pinch.

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Other escalator laws

            Mine's the one with the chihuahua in the pocket

            Real dogs[1] are also available..

            (NewDog is a one year old rescue Podenco/Chiahuahua cross. He's very, very intelligent and very, very active. I'm somewhat knackered. The main problem with Chiahuahua dogs is the owners treating them like toys rather than dogs..)

        3. Roq D. Kasba

          Re: Other escalator laws

          Battersea.

      2. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Other escalator laws

        I genuinely didn't understand what that is about either. It's not that I can't see the implication just fine in hindsight, but I suspect it might not be as obvious to non-native speakers as some might think.

        1. Twanky

          Re: Other escalator laws

          'it might not be as obvious to non-native speakers as some might think.'.

          It's a Terry Pratchett thing...

          Terry Pratchett used the line in 'Truckers'. Something along the lines of 'Dogs and pushchairs must be carried - and some people wern't carrying either pushchairs or dogs'.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Other escalator laws

            It's an older joke than that.

            1. Twanky

              Re: Other escalator laws

              'It's an older joke than that.'

              Yes. In my defence I did say 'Terry Pratchett used the line'.

              There seems to be a greater proportion of Sir Terry fans among el Reg commentards than among the general population. I felt that would help explain why the joke was recognised so quickly by some and not others.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Other escalator laws

                Pratchett is one of the few writers of fiction that, despite not actually having gone to a university, understands universities, scientists and engineers. What do you expect?

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Other escalator laws

          "I genuinely didn't understand what that is about either."

          Maybe it's time to explain.

          Somewhere in the depths of time someone in London Underground decided that there was a safety risk if passenger's dogs rode the escalators and that if a passenger had a dog with them they should carry it. The safety notice that was concocted was sufficiently terse as to be ambiguous and has been a source of amusement ever since, at least to those familiar to LU stations.

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: Other escalator laws

            Further explaining: "Dogs must be carried" => Anyone riding the escalator must be carrying a dog.

            1. Gideon 1

              Re: Other escalator laws

              "Dogs" is plural.

              1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: Other escalator laws

                "Dogs" is plural

                So extra bonus points for juggling them?

            2. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Further explaining:

              e.g. on the door of a building site:

              "Protective equipment must be worn" => Anyone entering must don hardhat, hi-vis, goggles, ear defenders etc.

              i.e. If you do not have PPE, this rule applies and you may not enter.

              "Dogs must be carried" => If you have a dog, it must be carried on the escalator.

              i.e. If you do not have a dog, this rule does not apply and you may enter.

              Same sentence construction, two different meanings. English is a pig like that.

          2. Hyper72

            Re: Other escalator laws

            Just to complete the picture and explain the safety risk: Many dogs get declawed or their paws shredded every year in escalators, which why the rule exists.

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Other escalator laws

              Yes, it's not a pleasant sight. It really isn't.

      3. nematoad Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Other escalator laws

        "...if you don't have a carry-on dog you can't ride the escalator."

        Good grief, one of my dogs weighs 30+ kilos, I'd have a bloody difficult job to both carry her and keep my feet on the escalator.

        Is there no thought given to these rules and regulations?

        1. JimC Silver badge

          Re: Other escalator laws

          Bearing in mind the risk to the dog from the escalator mechanism, perhaps you'd better use the steps.

        2. Huw D

          Re: Other escalator laws

          My dog was poorly, so I took him to the vets.

          The vet examined him and said "I'm sorry, Mr D, I'm going to have to put him down."

          I was distraught. "WHY!?!?!?!" I screamed.

          "Because he's too heavy..." the vet replied.

        3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Other escalator laws

          one of my dogs weighs 30+ kilos

          At one point, we had to half-rotties - the GSD/Rottie was about 55kg and the Dobermann/Rottie about 40kg. My wife (who at the time was about 50kg - has now ballooned to a massive 53kg[1] - her height (153cm) hasn't changed..) was far, far outweighed by them when she took them for a walk.

          Ah - the joys of both training and nose harnesses..

          [1] She blames it on being over 55. I blame it on chocolate, cake and clotted cream..

        4. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Other escalator laws

          The procedure is: inform a member of station staff. The escalator will be barriered off until it is clear. The escalator will be stopped. The escalator can then be used as a fixed stairway. The staff member will barrier off one end and escort the dog and person up or down. When the escalator is clear, barrier off the other end. They will then radio for a restart on that escalator. Once the machine is in operation again, they will remove the barrier and return to the other end and remove the first barrier.

          If there are two members of staff available, they will take an end each (much quicker).

    4. diver_dave

      Re: Other escalator laws

      Paddington

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Other escalator laws

        You mean we have to carry bears?

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: Other escalator laws

          Or a single boot?

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Other escalator laws

            Or a hell or a lot of padding?

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Other escalator laws

          well, perhaps a stuffed dog. an enterprising business savvy individual could rent them at one side of the escalator, allowing passengers to carry a dog, then collect the stuffed dog at the end of the ride.

          At $1 each, WAY less than the potential fine, you'd make a ton o' money. Not only that, it's kinda like renting snow chains that way... "chains required" on the sign, next to the sign, a group of people renting snow chains so you can proceed. Perfect!

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Other escalator laws

          Not to mention their damned hats and marmalade pots.

    5. Dagg

      Re: Other escalator laws

      I have a huge dog, she is over 50kg and the size of a small person. Carrying her up an escalator would be very dangerous.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Other escalator laws

        You can have the escalator stopped.

  3. Chris Gray 1
    Devil

    Skaith North-hound?

    OssianScotland, you fiend, you've put in my head the image of Stark trying to carry a North-hound from Skaith on an escalator....

    (Sorry can't find online images, etc. They were giant dogs that one rode on. Author Leigh Brackett.)

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Skaith North-hound?

      ... or Harry Dresden trying to carry Mouse.

    2. The Nazz Silver badge

      Re: Skaith North-hound?

      Cue Mike Harding, northern UK comedian and other multi talents, excerpt from "Rochdale Cowboy"

      "it's hard being a cowboy in Rochdale, people laugh when i ride past, on our Alsation dog."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With pretty well everyone and their dog

    aged under 30 now glued to their addict device (aka smartphone) almost 24/7 holding an escalator handrail is something of a rarity these days is it not?

    I would not know as I don't use (anti)Social Media or do things like email on my phone.

    The Canadian Supremes have shown a remarkable level of common sense. We done people!

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: The Canadian Supremes have shown a remarkable level of common sense

      Well what did you expect ? It's Canada.

      The surprising thing is that it had to get to the Supreme Court. Seems like they're getting infected from below. Gotta stay on the ball there, Canada. It would be such a shame to let yourself stoop to that level.

      1. Thrudd the Barbarian

        Re: The Canadian Supremes have shown a remarkable level of common sense

        Well it is right there in the story itself - Quebec.

        Canada's version of the US south with all that entails but with a Quebecquios accent.

        As for common sense I am just glad that the Supreme Court uses GOOD SENSE instead.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: The Canadian Supremes have shown a remarkable level of common sense

          Canada's version of the US south with all that entails but with a Quebecquios accent.

          I thought Quebec was supposed to be Canada's Paris or NYC: snooty, better-than-you attitude, just without the cultural trappings.

          1. Josh 14

            Re: The Canadian Supremes have shown a remarkable level of common sense

            That sounds somewhat like most of Hollywood and southern California to me.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: The Canadian Supremes have shown a remarkable level of common sense

              Quebec allowed women to vote about 20years after the rest of Canada.

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: With pretty well everyone and their dog

      Erm, the article says she's reached the supreme court. Not that the case has been heard and they've reached a verdict.

      On the face of it, nanny state gone mad. Could there be more to it than we've been told? For example, what if she was drunk and tottering in high heels, and had turned abusive when offered friendly advice? If that were the underlying story then it looks more finely balanced.

    3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: With pretty well everyone and their dog

      Will she be required to apologise?

    4. werdsmith Silver badge

      Canada

      Still the best country in the world in my opinion,

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Canada

        Still the best country in the world in my opinion

        It would be if you built a decent wall on your southern border.

  5. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    Bilingual

    It could be argued that a sign _only_ in French could not impose mandatory instructions in (nominally) bilingual Canada.

    1. elDog Silver badge

      Re: Bilingual

      Oh dear. You've just opened up the can of worms (Reichstag zu Worms) vis-a-vis the Canadiens and the Quebecois. They'll both start shouting at each other in some totally incomprehensible variant of a normal language.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Bilingual

        good one - I was thinking of that but you said it better

    2. Doctor Evil

      Re: Bilingual

      Nope. La Belle Province de Quebec has a language law which actually prohibits signage in any language other than French. Montreal being situated in Quebec, the sign is correctly (whether you agree with the provincial language law or not) in French only.

      I still think she's absolutely in the right. Handcuffed and detained for half an hour for failing to obey a directive? That's abuse of authority and richly deserving of sanction. The same sign says to hold your baby's stroller in place ahead of you with one hand while holding on to the handrail with the other. How safe is that?

      1. Thrudd the Barbarian

        Re: Bilingual

        Do not forget that that laws enforcement division insists everything is translated including proper names.

        I still wonder why the world has not sanctioned the province for overt racism at all levels.

        A while back I was billeted for work in Montreal and noted not a single ethnic face on any local station including the cbc, yet it is the opposite in any other province and mandated as such.

        1. NeilPost

          Re: Bilingual

          Ethnic or Indigenous ??

          Regardless of the TV there are plenty people of (apparent) India Indian Heritage ... busy working in IT. Not many Canadian Indian though.

      2. The Nazz Silver badge

        Re: Bilingual

        Not very, how the hell are you supposed to do that and carry the dog?

      3. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Bilingual

        "Nope. La Belle Province de Quebec has a language law which actually prohibits signage in any language other than French."

        And it's not overridden by another law coming out of Ottawa?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Doctor Evil - Re: Bilingual

        You're wrong. The law allows for bilingual signage but the French must be al least twice as big than the English inscription.

        I'm only an immigrant in this part of Canada but reading through the history books I came to understand some of the reasons why all this is happening. Hint, there was a big difference between French and British colonialism.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: @Doctor Evil - Bilingual

          Hint, there was a big difference between French and British colonialism

          Yeah - the British had a better military..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Doctor Evil - Bilingual

            Wrong. The British had a better navy.

            They also had the good fortune in India that they trained a superb native army.

  6. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Ambiguous

    Who ever designed the sign is most at fault. It first gives a warning then appears to give an instruction. Either is equally valid, and they negate each other.

  7. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

    Seems discriminatory

    Victimises amputees missing anything from hand up. or people with various forms of paralysis or palsy. Do they expect them to wear a harness or do they get fined wherever they go too...?

    Stupid cop

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Seems discriminatory

      And when the handrail moves faster than the steps, it also discriminates against anyone who is not Reed Richards.

      1. Def Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Seems discriminatory

        The handrail moving faster (or slower) than the stairs used to annoy the shit out of me.

        Until I learned it's actually a safety feature.

        When you're going up, the handrail moves slightly faster to pull you towards the stairs to prevent you from falling backwards. When moving down, the handrail moves slightly slower to push you back a little and help prevent you from falling forwards.

        1. Joe W

          Re: Seems discriminatory

          Thanks that's an explanation. Still annoying, though.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Seems discriminatory

          "Until I learned it's actually a safety feature."

          Always something new to learn and where better than at el Reg.

        3. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Seems discriminatory

          When you're going up, the handrail moves slightly faster to pull you towards the stairs to prevent you from falling backwards. When moving down, the handrail moves slightly slower to push you back a little and help prevent you from falling forwards.

          I'm sure some of the London Underground escalators are set up the other way round, but then if you are walking up/down the escalator you don't really 'hold' the handrail - your just let your hand hover over it...

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Seems discriminatory

            They reverse most escalators at weekends in order to even out the wear. The underground even used to have flippable track rails for the same reason of wear because it's a pain to get the big metals down to the low level sections. Two wearing faces per section, but they don't do that now. Good idea though it was, it meant specially drawn metal which cost more than standard, and it also was bumpier as the track clips slightly wore the spare surface, leaving a lot of rail grinding to do.

        4. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Seems discriminatory

          Thank you, Def! I thought that it was just desperately annoying. Now I know that it is desperately annoying with a purpose!

        5. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: Until I learned it's actually a safety feature.

          Hmm, someone's been watching QI.

          I used to work for the Underground and a lot of legends have been discussed at very great lengths by staff over the decades. I've consistently heard that the belt travelling at a different speed is a technical difficulty, not anything more helpful to the "customer". I think the time they cracked the problem was the escalators supplied for the Jubilee line (it may even have been for the Victoria line), where the belt is much more closely synchronised with the movement of the steps.

          Now if someone knows the answer to why e.g., there are co-acting signals at Chesham, that would be a real mystery solved.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Until I learned it's actually a safety feature.

            I thought it was because when the single line to Chesham was switched to signalled instead of token worked, that they were still had some steam-hauled locos on the line, and nobody really trusted that the tripcock on a steam loco would actually stop the engine, so they put a second set of signals in just in case. Knowing that line as I do, I certainly wouldn't want to coming off the rails at any great speed there; be a right old mess.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Handrails

    Every snot-nosed walking infection touches them. Do you really think I'm going to put my hands on that ?

    No thank you. Not unless you provide me with a sanitary wipe and an infection detector beforehand.

    1. Thrudd the Barbarian

      Re: Handrails

      They proposed putting in automatic cleaning onto the return part of the loop but nobody would spend the time and money for the feature.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Handrails

      Do you also refuse to touch door handles...? Do tell. Because I did actually have a uni prof who used to do exactly that. Whether or not the guy realised it, it certainly did have consequences concerning his, uh, image...

      1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Handrails

        I open restroom doors (that open in) with a paper towel. I know you should wash your hands after using the restroom, and I usually do. But I've seen many restrooms where I'm sure my willy that I just touched, and just washed in the shower is the cleanest thing in the room, including the faucet, soap, towels, etc. In which case I touch as little as possible.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Handwashing

          It used to be and possibly still is standard practice among machinists to wash your hands carefully, THEN relieve yourself.

          Those who failed to grasp the wisdom of this would sooner or later find themselves having to remove a piece of swarf from their genitals, or getting someone else to do it. . . . .

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Handwashing

            It used to be and possibly still is standard practice among machinists to wash your hands carefully, THEN relieve yourself.

            Same for many other industries. I used to handle acids on a regular basis. You can imagine how long I washed before 'anything else'. I'd put the best surgeons to shame for cleanliness!

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Handwashing

            sooner or later find themselves having to remove a piece of swarf from their genitals

            For similar reasons, I know people in the spicy food industry that do likewise. *And* they wear gloves while actually handling the raw chillies..

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
              Pirate

              Re: Handwashing

              Concerning the practise of handwashing.

              At the slaughterhouse I used to work at, one Canadian Food Inspector had a habit of stepping onto the mez floor & shaking his hands after doing the obligatory hand wash floor above one workers station (His feet at her approximate head height).

              She complained about this as the water droplets were hitting her head\going down the back of her neck & she had got to the end of her tether, he was taken to one side & a gentle word was put in his shell-like.

              Another food inspector stepped up to the same spot washed his hands while drying them properly & this time a drop of moisture hit her head from elsewhere on high.....

              She didn't even blink, she swiveled on the spot & had a damn good go at disemboweling his foot (Protective boot & all) with the knife in her hand.

              She was terminated, arrested & possibly deported.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Handrails

        Do you also refuse to touch door handles..

        The ones in and out of a men's[1] loo - yes. If I have to, I tend try to have a sleeve between me and the potentially bugridden surfaces..

        [1] Strange as it may seem, I've never (in conscious memory) been in a womens loo. While I'm sure that they too may have an issue with people not washing their hands I suspect it's much, much smaller than with men. Being the child of a nurse, I was indoctrinated^W trained from a very early age to wash my hands..

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Handrails

          Young man [after seeing Churchill leave the bathroom without washing his hands]: At Eton, they taught us to wash our hands after using the toilet.

          Churchill: At Harrow, they taught us not to piss on our hands.

      3. tuppence

        Re: Handrails

        this is why we have brass handles

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Handrails

      I've read that copper handrails reduce bacteria and infection greatly. Apparently, those very small organisms don't deal well with conductivity. The free flow of electrons is not good for them, it appears, and no that wasn't on some new age web page. Now I wish I'd saved that link. Not a cheap material to use but might cut down on medical bills and produces and overall savings to a govs total budget.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: Handrails

        Copper and silver are both well-known for their anti-microbial properties. I didn't know that it had to do with conductivity, but I could see free-flowing electrons throwing off ion balances for single-cell organisms.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Handrails

          It's broad-spectrum, too; the antiseptic property of copper and silver is effective against many fungi and viruses. (There are a number of interesting studies readily available online.)

          That's why copper strips are sometimes applied to roofs to remove and prevent mildew, for example.

          The problem with using copper handrails, of course, is that some asshole will steal them. Copper theft is widespread in the US and I expect it's similar elsewhere. When I had new gutters (eavestroughs) installed some years back, my paint & plaster guy wanted to paint them with a faux copper finish he'd used in some other projects. (The paint contains copper flecks so it even oxidizes appropriately.) I declined, since I knew I'd return from a vacation to find some moron had pulled the aluminum1 gutters down thinking they were copper.

          1Sorry, folks, but that's the spelling with better etymological support. See the discussion in Aldersey-Williams, Periodic Tales.

          1. rsole

            Re: Handrails

            Michael,

            I assume you are suggesting the rest of the Periodic Table column - Boron, Gallium, Indium, Thallium and Nihonium are all in need of a respelling.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Handrails

              Next hel'll suggest we look askance at goldium and hydrogenium, that absolute madman!

            2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Handrails

              Perhaps instead of assuming you should consult the reference I cited.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Don't Worry, Be Happy!

            Upvote for the bulk of your post being sensible, but there is literally no possibility of anyone being confused or mislead by either of the two common spellings for the element Al.

            So quibbling about the spelling is literally a waste of time!

            I'd call a gutter thief an arsehole, rather than an asshole, but I'm not confused by your use of asshole and agree with your sentiment.

            Even 'pissed' which depending on geography can mean either drunk or angry is mostly understood correctly just from the context.

            Don't Worry, Be Happy!

          3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Handrails

            the antiseptic property of copper and silver is effective against many fungi and viruses

            Which is the only possible reason that the copper braclets touted as helping arthritis might have an action - and it sure isn't because of the magnets that are usually attached. I suspect that some of the copper will get leached out into the skin (by sweat - it's a pretty good ion-exchange medium) and *might* have a slight systemic action.

            Personally, I prefer silver. With no magnets. One of them containing my medical details..

            (And they keep the werewolves and vampires away - I've never been attacked by one while wearing silver so it must be working!)

        2. Unicornpiss Silver badge

          Re: Handrails

          This is why copper pipes are great for water distribution.

  9. Little Mouse

    More handrails

    A certain imperial chemical industrial company I used to work for tried to impose similar must-use-the-handrail rules for employees going up and down stairs. Not holding onto the rail was a "yellow card" offence. (Seriously- all employees were expected to carry a yellow card around with them and shame their colleagues, referee-style, if they spotted them breaking such rules).

    All well and good, but the main stairwell only had a single handrail, leaving us in a bit of a pickle if we happened to meet someone coming the other way...

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: More handrails

      A certain imperial chemical industrial company I used to work for tried to impose similar must-use-the-handrail rules for employees going up and down stairs. Not holding onto the rail was a "yellow card" offence. (Seriously- all employees were expected to carry a yellow card around with them and shame their colleagues, referee-style, if they spotted them breaking such rules).

      I've heard it's the same way at Intel. In fact, from what I've heard about them, it sounds more like the "Mirror Mirror" episode of "Star Trek" (promotions via deviously undermining the competition).

      1. Joe W

        Re: More handrails

        I heard that this was the rule at my work place as well, minus the card thingy, thank the maker

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: More handrails

      "A certain imperial chemical industrial company I used to work for tried to impose similar must-use-the-handrail rules for employees"

      A clear indication of too many people in manglement with not enough useful work to do.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: More handrails

        "A clear indication of too many people in manglement with not enough useful work to do."

        More likely H&S dept. with too much time on their hands and trying to justify their jobs.

    3. Schultz
      Trollface

      Re: More handrails

      "Not holding onto the rail was a "yellow card" offence... All well and good, but the main stairwell only had a single handrail, leaving us in a bit of a pickle if we happened to meet someone coming the other way..." I hope you did the proper thing and initiated the formation of a committee exploring remedies? It being a safety relevant issue, did you shut down the place until a solution was found?

    4. baud

      Re: More handrails

      I had a math teacher who used yellow and red cards to warn (and expulse) troublemakers in class, using them referee-style. But it didn't have any consequences beyond that class. It was useful to bring back the 50-students class to calm down.

    5. Chloe Cresswell

      Re: More handrails

      A certain steel making company I work on site for a client has a "3 points of contact at all times" rule on the stairs. I can't reach both handrails at once as the stairs are too wide, so have hit the problem that the moment I start on the stairs it's against the rules for me to move my feet.

      Makes it hard to climb them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: More handrails

        Drag yourself up it. Slide down on your belly.

        Youngsters and their excuses!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        MBA Alert

        Sounds like some dumb f*ck mangler went on a t*** building exercise at a climbing wall, and his/her fellow employees failed to throw him/her off it.

        Actually this thought opens a vista of opportunity involving PHBs and extreme sport days out. . . .

        This is not incitement to break the law. Don't get caught.

  10. Norman Nescio Silver badge

    Must use the handrail...

    A certain imperial chemical industrial company I used to work for tried to impose similar must-use-the-handrail rules for employees going up and down stairs. Not holding onto the rail was a "yellow card" offence. (Seriously- all employees were expected to carry a yellow card around with them and shame their colleagues, referee-style, if they spotted them breaking such rules).

    Hmm. When I was younger and fitter, I discovered the fastest way down a particular set of stairs was to leap from landing to half-landing, using the handrail as a fulcrum and fixed point to regulate my speed, then half-landing to the next floor and so on. (This was before parkour became well known). I certainly used the handrail, but none of the individual steps, and would, presumably, have complied with the letter of corporate diktats to 'use the handrail'.

    Problems ensued if I unexpectedly met people coming up the stairs. Good 'situational awareness' was required.

    I would do myself a permanent mischief if I tried to do it now.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Must use the handrail...

      When I were a lad, my family had a holiday in New York City and stayed in an apartment on the 21st floor. One day, for the hell of it, my younger brother and I decided to take the stairs when we set out in the morning. We made good time, relative to the elevator, by omitting many of the intermediary stairs on the way down, employing a technique not unlike yours.

      That evening, climbing up 42 flights after a long day of walking around and seeing the sights, we gained a fresh appreciation for elevator technology. But we stuck it out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Must use the handrail...

        > That evening, climbing up 42 flights

        With or without SCBA gear?

        https://www.dw.com/en/germany-hundreds-race-up-massive-rottweil-elevator-test-tower/a-45507474

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Must use the handrail...

          Ah, to be young. I'd like to try that sort of thing now but the risk of a heart attack deters me.

          On the other hand, I'd happily walk up those stairs at a leisurely pace. Then I'd release my Slinky from the top. It's no Log, but it's still fun for a girl or a boy.

  11. Totally not a Cylon
    Headmaster

    Pedant alert

    But did the officer see her not hold the handrail all the way?

    The sign only says to 'hold the handrail' not 'hold the handrail for the entirety of your journey'.

    So resting your hand on it at any point of your journey shows compliance with the instruction...

    (It's Happy Chocolate weekend and I've been drinking whisky since 16:00)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pedant alert

      Well, there is another angle:

      At one point during the proceedings, Justice Clement Gascon said: “I suppose if we were to give tickets to people not holding the handrail, we’d be issuing hundreds per hour.”

      A few years back I got a parking ticket for not parking wholly within a parking bay at my local railway station. Decided to let it go to court - why?

      The car had been parked like that since 8am, the ticket was issued at just after 7pm, ie. when the car park was practically empty and the white lines of the bays were visible to the security cameras...

      A few days collecting photo evidence (at 8am when whole rows of cars including mine were parked not wholly within the too small bays) was used to ask the awkward question about how many tickets they issued and why my car was only ticketed at 7pm on the one day and not at sometime between 8am and midday on several other days...

      So wouldn't be surprised if the officer was only able to see and confront the lady because she was, at the time, the only user of the escalators at that station.

  12. Curly4
    Happy

    Simple solution for persons not following the "safety suggestions" would be if the person suffers an accident cannot collect from it if they are not following the "safety suggestion" and if the accident causes others who are following the "safety suggestion" the person not following the "safety suggestion" to be inured that same person would be accountable for the harm caused.

    Let the law of consequences take care to the beakers of safety rules to teach them to follow the rules.

    1. jgarbo

      The obvious solution: Death penalty for not taking public service advice. Firing squad at three paces.

      1. Totally not a Cylon
        Joke

        This is Canada....

        so, covered in Maple syrup and licked to death by a pack of Huskies....

        1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
          Pint

          I'd rather..

          Be covered in Maple syrup and licked to death by a female Curling team..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There are parts of the US where being black and breathing appear to constitute for not taking public service advice in that case.

        Don't worry they are on to it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You do realize that the opposite is also true in places. I've been to a couple of them. One of them didn't present any of us any problems, regarless of what you've heard about Mississippi. The other was in some downtown part of Atlanta, at night, and I definitely desired to be anywhere else.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Oh yes, no doubt we're at parity and no longer have to worry about racially indexed violence. Thanks!

    2. Kiwi Silver badge
      Pirate

      30 Odd years ago me mum and a few of her nearest shopping companions[1] wound up in the ER, with mum getting her skull, hip and shoulders x-rayed.

      Why?

      Because she was following the "safety suggestion", and holding the handrail when due to some mechanical error it came to a sudden and grinding halt. Mum and the others caught out took too long to realise what was going on and let go[2]. Not sure if everyone fell or one person started and took others out. As it was the up escalator they all fell backwards, some rolling further. I'd never paid attention to the buttons at the top or bottom of many escalators, take much more notice of them now. This was at Farmers Co-Op (or Farmers Trading[3]) Department Store, New Plymouth, IIRC '85 or '86.

      On at least half a dozen times since then I've seen at least one rail stopped on an escalator or travelator.

      Oh. No breakages that I recall, not that I cared for anyone else. Just pissed I had already been having to spend a day away from my favourite things, which was delayed since I couldn't even enjoy the delights of the 'big smoke' let alone what I would normally have been doing.

      [1] IIRC none of them knew us, just people who were on the same machine at the same time.

      [2] IE they didn't. (didn't let go)

      [3] Farmers Co-Op is long closed. Farmers Trading is now just "Farmers". Both could exist in the same town and usually sell the same sort of stuff to a degree, however FC was closer to a 'big box' type place whilst FT focused more on clothing/fashion/smelly stuff. FC also had great agriculture stuff in there and some incredibly knowledgeable staff when it came to growing things. Gone but far from forgotten (at least from people who miss having real service and talent around!)

      --> Icon coz closest we have to broken bones.

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    3 years?

    Fined in 2009 and acquitted in 2012? It actually took 3 years to be acquitted for not holding a hand rail? I'd be angry too.

    The US might be lawyer-crazy but at least we have a special court to handle infractions quickly.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: 3 years?

      Yes, we'd never have some ridiculous case drag out for four years here.

      1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: 3 years?

        Slap fights are not an infraction. Infractions are minor incidents where the fine is typically under $100. Infraction court can have witnesses and documentation but no lawyers or juries. It's pretty much a walk-through deal.

        It has to be fast because some areas in the US, like big chunks of California, abuse infractions by sending bail notices for $200 to $500 disguised as a fine. You have to go to court, say "Guilty", and then pay your actual fine of about $35.

  14. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    It must be nice being a cop in the Montreal area.

    Nothing to do but arrest people for not holding on the the escalator handrail. I suppose that "rescuing cat from tree" thing is hell though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It must be nice being a cop in the Montreal area.

      that's the fire dept. does that, but a cop car might be required to secure the road for onlooker safety.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: It must be nice being a cop in the Montreal area.

      "rescuing cat from tree" thing is hell though

      It can be - Oldest Brother (he is the tree surgery career) was asked to rescue a cat that had been up a tree for at least a day. OB, being almost as mad on cats as me, was happy to do so free of charge.

      He gets to the top of the tree, talks to cat and it's happy to see him - right up until he tries to get hold of it. At which point, it does the whole 'venus hand-trap of death' thing on him with the added bonus of extra-bitey stuff.

      At which point, cat got to test the whole 'landing on its feet after a fall from a height' thing. It was completely unhurt, unlike my brother (several very deep punctures in his hand and several large areas of skin missing from his wrist). He decided to never do the whole resuce-cat-from-tree thing again unless it was with his own cats (poor thing - he only has three. Lightweight!)

      The owner wasn't terribly amused but relented when she saw the size of the holes in his hand and wrist - and, since he makes a living from using his hands, it's a pretty impressive job that the cat did getting through all the callus and hardened skin.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why did the author use the word 'but' rather than 'and' or 'then' to cojoin her acquittal and subsequent legal action?

    If I was treated like that my natural response would be there needs to be administrative pain inflicted sufficient to dissuade similar future action on behalf of that officer and more widely the culture that allowed them to thrive. Shouldn't tolerate broken windows, y'know.

  16. earl grey Silver badge
    Mushroom

    handrails optional

    We used to have a certain escalator at work which would sometimes stop on the way down...pitching you face first into whatever was before you...loads of fun was had by all. On the other hand, after fire drills we would be going back in (en masse) and one of them being overloaded would actually slip backwards (until enough people were dumped off to make it up to the next floor). more entertainment.

    When i were much younger and had to stay for morning meetings (worked 2nd or 3rd in computer room), i would sometimes run up the down escalators all four floors to wake up. worked a champ.

  17. jgarbo
    Big Brother

    So it's true

    The Ukro-fascist Chrystia Freeland runs Maple Leaf, while Justin slurps the syrup. Clutch handrails or die!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So it's true

      Easy with your horses here, son!

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: So it's true

        Easy with your horses

        I assume that 'horses' is a euphamism for 'psycotropic medication'?

  18. JohnG11

    Mornington Crescent?

    1. OssianScotland

      Theydon Bois has to come first, Shirley?

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Go

        Interesting use of the Hanshott Thirst tactic.

  19. aks Bronze badge

    Sounds like the police officer was being a bully.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This week's "Little Tin Hitler" award.

    Giovani Tapini said it further up, but as most folk are quite rightly enjoying the opportunity to poke fun, I'll repeat the statement:

    Stupid Cop.

    My nomination for this week's "Little Tin Hitler" award.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: This week's "Little Tin Hitler" award.

      "Stupid Cop."

      Isn't that a rather internally-redundant statement?

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: This week's "Little Tin Hitler" award.

      Stupid Cop

      Bit like the young-and-very-keen copper that tried to do us for 'riding without due care and attention' in Weston-super-Mare some years ago (some of us were standing up on the footpegs to stretch our legs after riding for about 6 hours - something that is only of concern if you have to manouver while doing it. Which we didn't..)

      His sergant[1] was riding with us.. he took PC Mustard-Keen aside for a quiet but intense chat[2] and (afterwards) told us he was going to review said coppers record for any other similar situations. What might be known today as a "training opportunity".

      [1] BiL of the ride organiser and a former motorbike cop[3].

      [2] During with pretty much all we heard was "yes Sarge", "No Sarge" and "sorry Sarge".

      [3] Who tend to care more about whether you are riding safely rather than the letter of the law. Well - the ones I've been exposed to anyway..

  21. JaitcH
    WTF?

    When in Toronto Remember: TORONTO MUNICIPAL CODE SCHEDULE A TO CH. 349 PROHIBITED ANIMALS

    PROHIBITED ANIMALS

    MAMMALS

    Artiodactyla (such as cattle, goats, sheep, pigs)

    Canidae (such as coyotes, wolves, foxes, hybrid wolf dogs) except dogs

    Chiroptera (bats such as fruit bats, myotis, flying foxes)

    Edentates (such as anteaters, sloths, armadillos)

    Felidae (such as tigers, leopards, cougars) except cats

    Hyaenidae (such as hyaenas)

    Lagomorpha (such as hares, pikas) except rabbits

    Marsupials (such as kangaroos, opossums, wallabies) except sugar gliders derived from self-sustaining captive populations

    Mustelidae (such as mink, skunks, weasels, otters, badgers) except ferrets

    Non-human primates (such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, lemurs)

    Perissodactyla (such as horses, donkeys, jackasses, mules)

    Proboscidae (elephants)

    Procyonidae (such as coatimundi, cacomistles)

    Rodentia (such as porcupines and prairie dogs) except rodents which do not exceed 1,500 grams and are derived from self-sustaining captive populations

    Ursidae (bears)

    Viverridae (such as mongooses, civets, genets)

    BIRDS

    Anseriformes (such as ducks, geese, swans, screamers)

    Galliformes (such as pheasants, grouse, guineafowls, turkeys)

    Struthioniformes (flightless ratites such as ostriches, rheas, cassowaries, emus, kiwis)

    REPTILES

    Crocodylia (such as alligators, crocodiles, gavials)

    All snakes which reach an adult length larger than 3 metres

    All lizards which reach an adult length larger than 2 metres

    OTHER

    All venomous and poisonous animals

    Toronto has many other arcane bylaws by which to extract money from you, too. BUT NONE TO EXCLUDE DUMB POLITICIANS.

    1. OssianScotland

      Re: When in Toronto Remember: TORONTO MUNICIPAL CODE SCHEDULE A TO CH. 349 PROHIBITED ANIMALS

      Ursidae (bears)

      OK, so Paddington (see a long way above) is out, then

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