What is second handrail on pedestrian bridge for?

Submitted by Stomper Alan

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Have you ever noticed the second handrail on a pedestrian overhead bridge?

What is it for? Why would you need two handrails?

Stomper Alan believes the second handrail is for the handicapped and elderly – except it is at the wrong height.

Sharing photos of the railing on a pedestrian bridge at Hougang Avenue 2, he said: "The handicapped second rail is supposed to be about 750mm from the floor. This is to enable the elderly to have a waist-high handhold. It is also supposed to be continuous down the staircase."

The reason he is railing against the railing is that he believes that the second handrail does not meet the requirement set by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Is he right?

The Code On Accessibility In The Built Environment 2019 published by BCA states: "A second set of handrails should be provided at approach ramps and staircases at an appropriate height to assist children with disabilities and help prevent accidents.

"The handrails should be fixed at a maximum height of 700mm measured vertically from the ramp surface of pitch line of the stairs to the top of the handrails."

But this applies to ramps and staircases, not flat surfaces like the deck of a pedestrian bridge.

A BCA spokesman told Stomp: "The railings on the overhead bridge primarily serve as barriers to protect people from injury caused by falling from a height, and based on BCA's regulations, safety barriers must be at a minimum height of 1m."

So the second handrail on the bridge is not actually a handrail but a barrier.

"A handrail may be provided to assist users but is not required where the path is flat," added the spokesman.

When contacted by Stomp, the Land Transport Authority, which is responsible for building pedestrian bridges, said: "Railings of different heights are placed along the staircases of this pedestrian overhead bridge to assist pedestrians up and down the stairs. The lower railings are designed for use by children.

"On the deck of this pedestrian overhead bridge, a set of handrails of the same height can be found. This is an older design to deter climbing.

"At the same time, the second railing allows a pedestrian to hold and glide his hand along the railing without obstruction."

In response, the Stomper said: "Come on, railings are railings, whether on bridges, river banks or staircases."