I'm working on the design of the railing for a pedestrian bridge. The railing is 54" tall and will have a handrail attached to the railing mounted 36" above the deck. AASHTO handrail loads are straightforward, but I'm wondering what loading I should check the handrail for, or if I should just consider deflection? If the handrail fails, the railing is still behind it, so it seems absurd to apply the same loads I designed the railing for. However you don't want the handrail to deflect against the railing behind it and pinch a hand or finger.
The weakness of the handrail seems to be the connection of handrail support as ADA requirements limit the diameter of the handrail to between 1 1/4" to 2".
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