View Full Version : Stairs - LEFT or RIGHT

9th Dec 2004, 16:40
OK, so Im fighting my way through the crowds in the local shopping centre as the rush for Christmas Shopping starts. I need to get from a lower level to the upper and as Im in need of exercise I decide that the stairs are the better option than the lift or escalator. As I start to go up the stairs on the right I meet people coming down the stairs, I move over to the left and still meet people coming down the stairs....so it got me thinking.

My question, should we walk on one side like we drive on one side of the road ?

When you go for a staircase with handrails on either side do you go up or down on the side where the handrail is free, if your right handed do you go for the right, if your left handed do you naturally go for the left or vice a versa. Do you walk on the same side as you drive. Or are you a natural daredevil who likes to just simply go for the middle of the staircase. Important questions that need to be asked.

Does it change in the Southern Hemisphere due to the rotation of the earth ?

Just curious, what do you all do?


9th Dec 2004, 16:50
I use the left always - but that is because I am slightly disabled and need the left handrail. I agree with you that it would be better if everyone used the same side (and my suggestion would actually be to the right, as a few places already have that rule). I could probably manage on the right (be a bit slower and more painful than the left) but I have seen quite a lot of people who are disabled and could only manage one side or the other, so it would make life very difficult for them.

9th Dec 2004, 16:55
On a straight flight of steps most stick to the side they approached from.
If the steps turn a corner the tendency is to head for the 'inside' path.
May I recommend the spiral staircases in the Scott Monument in Edinburgh for a giddy challenge. Very steep, very narrow and no handrail in parts! How do you pass oncoming traffic? Carefully.

9th Dec 2004, 16:55
I stand on the right to let those that want pass me on the left:E


9th Dec 2004, 17:05
Escalators on the Underground always say "tenez vous a droite" or "rechts stehen" so I guess that sums it up . . .

9th Dec 2004, 17:38
I reckon 95% of people take the side they'd drive on - perhaps subconsciously. I tend to notice this during the first few days in any country that pulls off to the other side of the road - so to speak...

Solution: Take the lift.

10th Dec 2004, 10:08
Over a few beers last night, the others in the pub reckon its to do with which side the handrail is at home. Subconciously you will always head to that side because thats the side you use on a regular basis (at home).

10th Dec 2004, 10:25
I agree with RS2 on this, got them on both sides of the stairs at home, which explains why I always try and go straight up the middle! :D