Japan’s escalators can get pretty hectic, especially at rush hour, when it’s not always clear whether you should stand on the left or the right. (Pro tip: Tokyoites generally stand on the left, while Osakans stand to the right – confusing, huh?) Saitama prefecture is seeking to bring some order to the chaos with a new rule requiring people to stand still on escalators.
As reported by NHK, there were an alarming 1,550 escalator injuries in Japan between 2018 and 2019. Of these, 805 injuries are a result of people not standing still or holding onto the handrails. It’s stats like that which led Saitama to introduce its new escalator ordinance that passed on March 26.
The new rule prohibits people from moving while on escalators and is also designed to make it easier for elderly and less mobile people to use them, too. It will go into effect in October this year, and requires areas with escalators to put up signs requesting people to refrain from walking or running while riding the escalators.
Similar to other local ordinances in Japan, like this city ban on texting while walking in Kanagawa prefecture, there will be no punishment for breaking the rule. Saitama is the first prefecture to introduce this rule as a way to curb accidents, but with Japan's aging population, we’re betting it won’t be the last.
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