Why do escalator handrails never run at the same speed as the escalator itself does?

782 views

I assume some of you observed this before. When using an escalator I mostly notice that the handrails run just slightly faster/slower than the escalator itself. This is especially noticable when leaning against the handrail at the beginning; when at the finish you’ll most likely be tilted either up- or downwards.
I noticed this at multiple escalators around the world. It seems like this is a worldwide problem.
Can someone explain this difference in speed between the escalator and the handrail?

In: Engineering

Because your suppose to also walks at the speed of the handrails movement?

I ride on an escalator every day and the handrail moves at the same speed as everything else.

The handrails move faster than the escalator itself to get ahead of wear. Since the belt is only friction driven, it will slow down after some time and if the handrails move slower than the escalator, they will push the person riding back which may cause them to fall over

As Don-Slade has already kind of pointed out (at least in Germany) escalator handrails have to run a certain percentage faster than the escalators itself to pull your point of weight forward. By being just slightly faster, when you grab a hold of them, your weight will be distributed more to the front, thusly reducing the risk of you falling backwards down the escalator.

Likewise, when you’re going downwards, the handrails tend to run a bit slower to pull your weight back so you don’t fall down.

I could see the point of other commenters, but I was wondering if it had something to do with the handrail belt being a different circumference than the steps belt yet being driven by the same motor therefore it would run at a different rate of speed.

You touch the handrails?!? Good lord those things are filthy.