If only every city could take a cue from Madrid when it comes to manspreading. Per The Local, Madrid just announced that it has banned manspreading—when a man opens his legs to take up a bunch of unnecessary room in an enclosed space—across all of its public transit services. Specifically, the city’s Municipal Transportation Company (EMT) will be implementing new signage in all of the trains and buses, which will hope to dissuade manspreaders from encroaching on the personal space of other riders.
“The new information icon indicates the prohibition of taking a seating position that bothers other people,” a statement issued by the EMT reads. “It’s to remind transport users to maintain civic responsibility and respect the personal space of everyone on board.” The sign features a stick man spreading his legs to cartoonishly large proportions on a public transportation seat, with a big red “X” and “respect the space of others” text accompanying it. It’s currently unclear, though, if non-law-abiding manspreaders will receive a fine if they continue to spread at will.
— Ayuntamiento Madrid (@MADRID) June 7, 2017
For women in Madrid, this news has been the culmination of many months of petitioning and protesting against manspreaders. Mujeres en Lucha launched a viral petition campaign titled #MadridSinManspreading (#MadridWithoutManspreading), which was sent to Madrid’s mayor, Manuela Carmena, as well as Madrid’s regional president, Cristina Cifuentes. “Manspreading is the practice of certain men sitting with their legs wide open on public transport, taking up other people’s space. It is not something that occurs sporadically, if you pay attention you’ll see that it is a very common practice,” the petition read.
— FMJ (@MujeresJovenesF) June 5, 2017
New York was one of the first major cities to openly campaign against manspreading on public transportation, when in late 2014 the “Dude, please stop the spreading” campaign was birthed by the MTA. As a result of the campaign, NYPD officers actually arrested men who were caught manspreading on the subway; charges were later dismissed. MTA Rules of Conduct prohibit passengers taking up more than one seat when doing so “would interfere or tend to interfere with the operation of the Authority’s transit system or the comfort of other passengers.”
Commutes on public transport are hard enough as it is, no matter where you live. Just, you know, keep your legs to yourself.