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Asked by Sabryna Dooley
Public Transportation

Why are there brushes on the sides of escalators?


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Fatima Ziemann
December 20, 2019 5:54PM

Unfortunately, they’re not there to clean your shoes—they’re there to keep your feet away from where the step meets the side of the escalator. That’s where many of the worst escalator injuries occur, so it’s best you forego your customary between-floor shoe cleaning (I write to myself, begrudgingly).

Schindler, an international escalator manufacturer, explains their trusty elevator skirt brush here:

“A continuous length of bristles projects out from the skirt, gently deflecting and guiding riders away from the step-to-skirt gap. The brushes are made with durable monofilaments, and provide a soft surface to warn passengers and encourage them to keep away from the extreme sides of the step.”

So...can you keep brushing your shoes with them, even a little? No, stop that.

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Hey Jingli
6 days ago
Most modern escalators have black bristles (like on a brush) on their sides. These brushes are designed both to discourage people from standing right on the edge and to make it less likely that clothing and feet will get dragged into the space between the sides and the steps.
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Wiki User
April 06, 2009 8:07AM

To avoid small articles from falling in the gap : pens, hairclips, and rings. Also to prevent accidental injuries.