I don't care about how much hate mail I'm going to get for this one today, I'm going to make it very clear...
There is no excuse or "good reason" why you should take a bicycle on any escalator, including ones at BART stations. While I'm at it, I'm going to also include baby strollers too.
You can blab all you want saying that BART is not bike friendly or the BART police and station agents are acting like assholes. Every time I ride a BART escalator and notice a bicyclist holding their bike in front of me, I either have to wait until that moron clears or I keep my distance in case the jackass screws up and it flies down the stairwell. It's just like not wearing a bike helmet and using front and rear lights, you are setting yourself up for a vacation at the morgue or the trauma center at SF General.
It's already common sense wheelchair users should never use an escalator for any particular reason. At BART stations, there's always an elevator or some ADA accessible way to get from the parking garage, the entry gates, and train platform.
So if common sense logic works correctly, if you have any type of big wheels, you should not be using the escalators in the first place. Would you be on roller skates or a Segway and ride an escalator?
Sure, it makes it look easy to get up and down that big set of stairs by simply holding your bike on a moving escalator, but let's see what bad scenarios might happen:
- As a courtesy, transit station escalators have a basic rule, standees on the right side, and those wanting to pass stay on the left. Bicycles block the entire width of the escalator and makes passing impossible or dangerous.
- If the bicycle gets wedged in between the width of the escalator (front tire gets wedged on one side while the back tire is on the other), that blocks the entire path of the moving escalator and there could be a large collision of passengers until, hopefully, a passenger on the bottom of the escalator can hit the emergency stop button in time.
- Normally, elderly people would ride the escalator if they can safely enter and exit, but using it means they don't have to exert as much energy than using the stairs. If the elderly person is standing behind the bike passenger, if the bike rider loses control of the bicycle and falls down the escalator stairs, well, the elderly person is likely going to be seriously hurt. But it doesn't have to be an elderly person, it could be any person of any age.
What are the best ways to get from one level to the other with a bike or other wheeled object? Use an elevator or stairs.
Update 12/28: Some typos pointed out by others; they have been corrected. Kudos to them.