Madrid Becomes Latest City to Ban Manspreading on Public Transport

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By Kieran Corcoran | 4:50 am, June 8, 2017

Madrid has become the latest major city to attempt to ban “manspreading” on its public transit network.

The Spanish capital, home to about three million people, this week began to roll out signs warning men to keep their legs together when they sit down.

The notices will be published on subway trains as well as the city’s extensive bus and streetcar network, according to announcements by the Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid (EMT) local transit authority.

A sample of the messages was tweeting from the official EMT account yesterday, showing signage which closely resembles the New York subway’s anti-spreading message:

The images of a red, manly figure with his splayed legs intruding onto the seats around him is accompanied by a warning which translates as: “respect the space of others”.

It is displayed alongside reminders not to litter and to watch out for pickpockets.

An EMT statement said: “It’s to remind transport users to maintain civic responsibility and respect the personal space of everyone on board.”

The move follows the first major move against manspreading in New York, which began in 2014 with a poster campaign urging the city’s males: “Dude, stop the spread. Please”.

Other cities have taken even more drastic measures. Earlier this year Heat Street reported how Mexico City’s transit authorities installed plastic “penis seats” in subway cars.

They featured a solid mold of a male torso, complete with flaccid penis, and were accompanied by warnings that they may be uncomfortable to sit on – but not as uncomfortable as sexual assault.

Madrid’s move marks a social justice double-whammy for the city, which also chose this week to start rolling out LGBT-friendly traffic signals showing same-sex couples.