@40 I live to entertain...but I'm saddened to learn that your entertainment is based on a basic inability to absorb factual information.
So, let's review.
1) Escalators are designed to be ridden...not to be walked on. (Evidence posted above from Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Ron Holzer on WeLoveDC.com
2) Escalators injuries are going up dramatically. (Evidence posted above from Pew Research Center via Justice.org
3) In order to reduce escalator injuries, Japan is encouraging people to stop walking on escalators. (Evidence posted above from the Toronto Star.)
I don't see any straws being grasped here. The points that I'm making are backed up by science and research.
And I don't see this as concern trolling (I have no particular investment in preventing you from hurting yourself...go for it.)
The discussion was about how people should ride escalators and the commonly held assumption is that people should stand on one side to let other people walk on the other. (Which started with the "Squirrels" designation in Charles' original post and the repetition in the comments section of arguments made here on Slog when this topic has been debated before...)
4) Studies (especially the Transport For London study that has been linked above) show that in high volume situations, this is inefficient--that more people can be moved faster if people stand on both sides...that it makes no sense to "save" 50% of an escalators capacity for the 10-25% of people who walk while on escalators.
People that ignore that...people who only care that they, as individuals, have unfettered access to use an escalator incorrectly and possibly dangerously...are more honestly described as selfish. (Independent assessments would be necessary to determine how much of an asshole said persons might be.)
At no point did I suggest that people purposefully stand on the left to stop people from walking up or down escalators. At no point did I even suggest that I, myself, always stand while on escalators. I didn't make my personal behavior part of the argument. I don't see how you can make the assumption that I am lazy based on my pointing out facts about escalators. I don't know how you can say that I'm selfish when I'm discussing how to use escalators in the most efficient way for the masses.
Am I an asshole for pointing out the facts about how escalators should be ridden based on scientific research and design instead of commonly held (but ultimately incorrect) beliefs?
Maybe. That one's not my call.
I just get tired of the arrogance of people who cling to ignorance, smug in their belief that whatever lets them do what they want to do is the right way to do things, regardless of other people or new information. (Check out Hamilton Nolan's Gawker article where he opines that people who don't walk down escalators, on either side, deserve to be pushed down said escalators...and the number of people who agree with that sentiment in the comments there.)
Sometimes, you have to change your mind in the face of actual facts. Sometimes, we all do.
I can think of a specific example where I did. I read the book "Traffic" by Tom Vanderbilt. In it, he describes the situation of what happens when a traffic sign alerts drivers to a lane closure happening two miles ahead. The commonly held belief is that is a signal to start forming a single lane of traffic...and that people who continue driving in the lane about to be closed are looked upon with disdain and often are blocked from merging at the actual point where the lane ends. Vanderbilt shows how incredibly inefficient that is...that single file lane quickly backs up with two miles of unused but perfectly drive-able road in the other lane. The correct approach in this situation is to fill both lanes and then to "zipper" at the merger point--but because so many people cling to the outdated and inefficient method, it can even be dangerous for individual drivers to try to unilaterally effect change. There are states that are now teaching the zipper method in driver's ed and others that are spending money on ad campaigns designed to change the entrenched habits of veteran drivers. Veteran drivers like myself--mea culpa.
The escalator topic is directly analogous to the lane closure example. The entrenched habit in both is inefficient and potentially dangerous. The entrenched habit should be changed.
Not because it would directly benefit me. Not because that's the way that I personally want it to be. Not even because that's what I do in every situation I find myself in.
It should be changed because it is the better way to do things for everyone concerned.
And your desire to shave a couple of seconds off your own personal travel simply isn't a strong enough argument against the common good.
Escalators are designed to move mass numbers of people safely and efficiently. That is best done by people standing (and in high volume situations, by them standing two abreast)...not by leaving half of the escalator empty for the statistically small number of people who would choose to walk on something meant to be ridden.
It's not terribly entertaining...but it's factual.