with the exception of 3 lifts at work,the 16 others have footrest/ safty bars. In Utah it is not a law, nor do i think it should be.
I agree, people need to warn every one on the chair that they want the bar down. I like to ride on the far inside or outside of the chair, then i can lean my arm on the arm rest, more than a few times i have had it smashed.
As a rule i raely use them when i'am alone on the lift.With small kids, yes the bar does come down.
One way to prevent unwanted foot rests coming own, is when you load, slide your poles under one leg. Many times this stops the bar
Favoret bar,,,,, The Moose in Jackson, O'Shucks' in Park City