Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
October 12, 2023 ·  3 min read

The Scary Reason Behind Escalators Having Brushes On The Side

You are probably not the only person who must have cleaned their shoes on the brushes that run up each side of an escalator. But as you may have guessed, they are not created for that reason. According to Buddy the Elf, a TikToker, escalators can be quite dangerous and scary for those who have never traveled on one of them before. Some of us might have even slipped and fallen on one of the hard stairs- which led to us getting stitches.

Therefore, one can assume that the extra dark nylon bristles attached to every escalator you walk on have a good reason behind them. The bristles actually work as a safety feature. While they probably won’t stop you from falling if you start running around, they will help stop any other accident from taking place. The safety brushes of the escalators help prevent one’s shoes or clothes from getting stuck between the moving stairs, as well as the balustrade skirt.

Simply put, if the brushes weren’t present, one’s clothes would get stuck- not something you want to experience. They also work as a psychological barrier. The moment one feels it touching their legs, they would move away immediately- preventing their clothes or shoes from snagging. A TikTok account called ‘Untold Facts’ also mentioned, “One of the biggest reasons for escalator mishaps is people getting their clothes and bags stuck in them when they stand too close to the sides.


Everyday Things You Didn’t Know The Purpose Of #facts #factsmatter #reels #viral #fyp Music:

♬ original sound – Untold Facts

The Floor Brushes On Escalators Aren’t For Show

This led to a viewer commenting, “I got my floor-length dress caught in an escalator and it left oil/grease stains on it that I could never remove.” Another poster commented, “Only recently my hubby helped a lady who got her skirt stuck on the escalator.” There was a third individual who wrote, “Escalators scare the s*** out of me to this day. My kids laugh at me because I take the stairs to this day.” As it turns out, such skirt deflectors in escalators were not considered as mandatory until the A2 amendment that came in 2004. And let’s be honest, the utility and the precautionary measure do assuage some of the fears people have while standing on an escalator.

Escalator Safety Tips

According to the North Carolina Department of Labor, about 90% of all escalator incidents involve seniors or children, and most accidents stem from carelessness when getting on and off an escaltor. To ride an escalator safely, they recommend abiding by the following tips:

  • Check the direction of the escalator before you board.
  • Always pick up your feet and step carefully on or off the escalator.
  • Stand in the center part of the step. Never drag or slide your feet along the edge.
  • Always face forward and hold the handrail.
  • Do not sit on the handrail.
  • Do not lean against or reach over the sides of the escalator.
  • Exit promptly from the escalator.
  • Never stop, stand or play at an escalator landing; this can cause a dangerous pileup.
  • Do not board an escalator with a baby stroller, walker or packages.
  • Be aware that loose shoe laces, drawstrings, scarves and mittens can get trapped in escalators.
  • Do not ride an escalator if you are barefooted.
  • Take extra precaution to avoid the sides of the escalator when wearing flip-flops or rubber-soled shoes.
  • Senior citizens should pay particular attention to balance while getting on and off an escalator. It is easy to lose your
    balance because of the difference in momentum.
  • Always hold children’s hands on escalators and do not permit children to sit or play on the steps.
  • Make sure you obey caution signs posted on the escalator.
  • Use the emergency shutoff button if needed. The buttons are usually located at the entrances and exits of escalators.

Keep Reading: World’s Most Experienced Pilot Reveals Truth About Why We Use Brace Position On Planes


  1. The scary reason behind escalators having brushes on the side.” Lad Bible. Anish Vij. February 15, 2023.
  2. “Escalator Safety Tips” NCDOL.