Amusement and theme parks are located all over the United States and visited by millions to enjoy a multitude of exciting and thrilling attractions. Of these visitors, the most ardent thrill-seekers are usually drawn to the biggest attraction in the park, which is most often a roller coaster.
On first impressions, the mere size and scale of these structures can be intimidating and lead many to question the safety of roller coasters and of themes parks in general. But, amusement park and carnival rides are subject to some pretty strict regulations and undergo regular inspections, therefore the number of people injured on roller coasters and other amusement park rides, when compared to the number of visitors, is pretty low.
Statistics About Roller Coasters
There are more roller coasters in the United States than in any other country in the world. However, there is very little data on accident and injuries related to riding a roller coaster.
But what we do know is:
- According to the date from the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2017 there were an estimated 30,000 injuries linked to amusement parks, and an estimated 4400 kids under the age of 18 visit emergency rooms every year to seek treatment for amusement park injuries.
- According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, there are only 9 serious injuries or fatalities per million roller coaster riders.
So, compared to the number of people who visit amusement parks every year (approximately 335 million) the number of reported roller coaster injuries and fatalities is insignificant. Still, there are a lot of things that can go wrong during a roller coaster ride and accidents are bound to happen from time to time.
Roller Coaster Safety Features
Today’s roller coasters are mostly computer controlled and have hundreds of sensors on every part of the ride–the train, the track, and in the loading area. In addition, each roller coaster is controlled by a ride operator who is in a position where they can always see all parts of the ride.
The sensors are all programmed to identify faults and monitor the performance of the ride. Each ride is designed to stop if a fault is detected. However, the ride operator may also choose to stop the ride if they believe there is a risk to a guest, a staff member, or the ride itself.
Furthermore, adverse weather conditions, such as high winds, heavy rain, and ice, not only make for an unpleasant ride experience, but can also force a roller coaster to be stopped. The amusement park operators constantly monitor the local weather and environmental conditions and will shut down a ride if the conditions are not right.
Tips to Avoid Being Injured on a Roller Coaster
If you have ever ridden a roller coaster at an amusement park or local fair the words, “stay seated and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle,” should be familiar to you. In fact, you probably heard it before every ride you’ve taken.
Roller coasters have relatively good safety records, but here are several tips you can follow to help prevent being injured:
- Forget About the Photos – Holding a camera or mobile phone on a roller coaster is dangerous for you and other guests. The welfare of all the riders is paramount and if the staff sees you holding a camera or phone, they will stop the ride.
- Don’t Chase Lost Items – If your cell phone or some other item falls out of your pocket, let it go. Don’t climb fences, sneak under gates, or venture into a restricted area to retrieve it.
- Watch the Height and Weight Restrictions – If you or your child is not tall enough to ride the roller-coaster, find another ride to enjoy. In fact, you should take these safety matters into your own hands. Even when your child does meet the height and weight restrictions, if you think that he or she isn’t big enough or isn’t always likely to follow instructions and keep their arms and limbs inside the ride, don’t let them ride.
- Keep Good Posture -Most injuries happen on roller coasters that twist and turn suddenly or frequently. It’s usually your back or neck that takes most of the impact. So, always face forward, refrain from slouching in your seat, and double check the safety restraints.
- Get a Grip – At some point during the ride, you may be inclined to throw your hands in the air. But, while serious injuries on roller coasters are rare, experts say that it’s smart to hold on and refrain from throwing your hands in the air.
Compensation for Injuries Sustained While Riding a Roller Coaster
Like any business, amusement parks have a legal duty to inspect and maintain their roller coasters and other attractions in order to ensure that they are safe for visitors. Whether its Disneyland, Six Flags, or your local county fair, if an amusement park ride is defective and, as a result, you were injured, you may have a claim against the park to compensate you for your injuries and losses.
Even if the roller coaster was not necessarily defective, but the park failed to give an adequate warning of the dangers it may pose to someone with preexisting health conditions, the park may be held responsible for aggravating or activating those conditions. For example, an intense roller coaster ride may trigger a heart attack or an epileptic seizure.
What’s more, in certain instances, an amusement park may be held responsible for the conduct of other riders if the park failed to monitor their actions and, as a result, you were injured. Similarly, if the amusement park previously served alcohol to an intoxicated rider, the park may be held liable to pay for any harm he or she caused.
Injured Riding a Roller Coaster in Arkansas? Contact the Law Offices of Alan LeVar
Most roller coasters provide riders with great memories that last a lifetime. But for some, a roller coaster ride can turn into tragedy. When this happens, you will need the help of a licensed personal injury attorney––an attorney who is experienced with amusement park accident cases and will fight to get you the compensation necessary to cover all your injuries and losses.
The Law Offices of Alan LeVar in Little Rock, Bentonville, Conway and Arkadelphia serve clients in Texarkana, Hot Springs, El Dorado, Pine Bluff, and all over the state. We can help you. Call us for a free consultation at (888) 220-7068, or contact us here online to arrange a free case evaluation.