Boarding your transit train you find it’s standing room only and you need to hang on to a hand strap. Is it clean? Who knows.
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) polled their riders in March 2020 regarding the use of “Personal Hand Straps” and here are the results:
“BART’s Twitter poll asking riders their opinion about personal hand straps was available for voting until 2 pm Sunday. The final results are in: with 4,082 total votes on Twitter, 74.9% of the voters said yes to the personal hand strap idea. Other feedback from Facebook and Instagram showed similar levels of support for the personal hand strap.”
We started thinking about making a personal hand strap but two issues kept creeping in to our conversations.
1. How does one remove it without touching the grab rail?
2. How does one disinfect the strap after use?
Without solving those issues, using a personal strap would not be an improvement over just grabbing on to the bar with your bare hand.
After some testing we found that a simple loop sewn to the top of the strap would allow a user to disengage the strap without touching the grab rail.
Solving the second issue was easier. We turned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and learned that immersing the strap in a bleach solution would do the job. A bit more research and we knew that polypropylene webbing would not be harmed by a room temperature bleach bath. The same is true for the polyester thread used in sewing these straps.
The end result is our Personal Hand Strap, an economical way to keep your mudhooks (one of my father’s favorite phrases) off of the grab bars.