Everyone has experienced it. "manspreading" – people sitting on the subway train with their legs spread out wide, taking up precious inches and invading everyone’s personal space. Records show the practice has been complained about since way back in 1915, and yet the practice continues. Madrid, the capital of Spain, has just taken steps to try to stop “manspreading” on Public Transport by introducing new signs.

'Manspreading' goes back to at least 1915

Manspreading” is so common these days it was officially defined in the Oxford English Dictionary back in 2015.

However, according to the Smithsonian Magazine, the habit has been going on since 1915 – they have various newspaper and other advertisements in their archives politely asking travelers to be courteous about their surrounding leg room. A series of the vintage ads will soon be on public display at the New York Transit Museum to show how the practice goes back for many decades.

According to a report in the New York Post, a study run in 2015 uncovered the fact that 27 percent of men were likely to “manspread” into other people’s space, while less than five percent of women, can we say, “womanspread?”

As reported by the Sacramento Bee, in the U.S., cities like Philadelphia, New York City and Seattle have previously tried out advertising campaigns in an effort to put a stop to the manspreading habit, but without much success.

New York particularly has been trying for two years to get rid of the impolite habit with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority installing signs on trains.

Madrid to give anti 'manspreading' signs a go

Despite failures elsewhere, and after a women’s group launched an online petition that quickly drew hundreds of signatures, the city of Madrid is ready to try their own ad campaign.

In future public buses in the city will bear signs featuring a seated male figure with legs spread wide in the “popular” manspreading position, alongside a big red X.

In some countries, public transport is rife with more than just plain old "manspreading," however.

As reported by Blasting News in March, Mexico City authorities came up with a new way to try to stop sexual harassment on the subway.

One part of the initiative was to install a special seat shaped like a man’s torso and penis aimed to make men “uncomfortable” when traveling. The other part was to install CCTV cameras and TVs to emphasize the physical attributes of passing men, for the pleasure and amusement of lady travelers. If nothing else, at least their campaign make women travelers smile.