Many people believe that the hand rail is probably a little faster than a moving sidewalk, and why is that? Peter Swingewood believes that:

“…the total distance the handrail has to go is longer than that of the steps, and as both circuits have to be completed in the same time it has to move faster.”

Higginbotham of Oxford disagrees:

“I DISAGREE with Peter Swingewood. The outer end of a bicycle-wheel spoke also travels further and faster then the inner end but does not get further and further ahead as a result.

How about what Andy Armistead of the Netherlands say of what Higginbotham just told us.

“..has missed an important factor. In a wheel, all parts are revolving around the same centre point. In the escalator, the steps and the handrail are not revolving around a common centre point. Thus it will seem as though the handrail is moving faster than the steps.”

Simon Hinchley Wood has this to say:”Escalators are designed so that the hand rail travels faster than the stair – this is to prevent users leaning on the rail and not paying attention, thereby ending up in a heap when they reach the end of the rail. The effect is produced by gearing differences between the stair and rail drive mechanisms.”

What do you think?

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