About those escalator pictograms

The Laval police department is stubbornly standing by its officers who arrested and ticketed a woman for not holding an escalator handrail and having the gall to protest when they demanded she do so. This action caused outrage that is still giving Patrick Lagacé column ideas.

The argument for the police isn’t logically wrong. The STM’s bylaws require people to obey pictograms and there is a pictogram telling people to hold handrails. The fine issued wasn’t excessive legally.

But there’s a reason why courts are run by human judges: laws must be interpreted through the filter of common sense.

For example, if we posit that escalator pictograms must be always followed to the letter, what to make of this:

Pictograms on the moving carpet at Beaudry metro

Pictograms on the moving carpet at Beaudry metro

So strollers have to be held in front of you.

But strollers are prohibited.

Perhaps this is why the STM doesn’t ticket people routinely for ignoring these warnings. Even they don’t take them seriously.

11 thoughts on “About those escalator pictograms

  1. Jean Naimard

    Of course the police is gonna stubbornly defend it’s officers! Doing the opposite would be an admission of being wrong and the police CANNOT be wrong.

  2. Beeg

    No, no, see, strollers are only prohibited on the way *down*. But if you find yourself at the platform level with a stroller, you can leave the station…

  3. Jc

    I think the yellow sign is a generic one that applies to escalators. The white one would be specific to moving belts. And there might be very practical reasons for this: a runaway stroller on a moving belt is less dangerous for the kid than a runaway stroller on an escalator.

  4. Christopher

    That’s a very good point….I never thought of it that way. The pictogram can be easily interpreted to mean that you only need to hold the railing if you have a child.


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