I was reading at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website regarding how to use escalators safely. Most of their concerns were regarding taking children onto escalators. However, there was no warning at all about the type of event that I recently experienced, which involved only adults.
I entered onto a Washington DC Metro escalator behind a woman in a long flowing habit. I did not see until I was already downward bound, that on the two steps in front of her were two men turned around, facing her, seemingly to assist her in negotiating the escalator.
When each man arrived at the bottom landing, instead of moving forward, out of the way, he instead turned around to help the woman behind. At this point, I had nowhere to go when I came to the landing and was forced crashing into her. It was very frightening to me, but fortunately there were no escalator passengers directly behind me to create a pile up, and the two men quickly moved themselves and the woman out of the way. If there had been riders directly behind me, as is quite usual on this particular escalator, it could have created mayhem as riders piled on top of one another. I can only wonder how long it would have taken for someone to turn off the escalator power. Perhaps there is a safety switch that engages automatically. I hope so.
I don’t know if there were warnings posted about placing handicapped persons on escalators. These people should have ridden on the elevator which is right next to the escalator. However, I don’t know that they could read English or Spanish, or their experience with escalators at all. Even the woman’s long flowing clothing I believe could have been a safety hazard on a moving escalator.