Tuesday, May 11, 2004 12:04 AM
While Rep. Markey goes on and on about increasing the power ans scope of federal government by insituting new regulations on theme park rides there is one thing he could propose that would help the safety of them park guests. And that is sponsoring an exmeption for theme parks from ADA rules when it comes to who can and cant ride a theme park ride. Give parks the power to tell people that due to medical/phyical condition/s they cant ride the ride without the fear of being sued for discrimination due to the ADA laws.
Then maybe the person who died in the SFNE accident might still be alive today or other accidents where people with disabilities were killed/hurt on them parks rides.
Whats the saying some like to use"If it saves just one life"
What are your thoughts on this???
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 12:10 AM
I'm gonna disagree strictly on the grounds that if amusement parks are granted such an exemption, then other entertainment facilities are going to request it too. And if too many of these facilities actually were to receive this permission -- which, in lawsuit-happy America would be highly likely -- then it would eventually completely undermine what the ADA is trying to accomplish.
I see where you got your theory from...just a little flawed though.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 1:54 AM
I say no. This would reinforce the trend of people relying on others instead of thinking for themselves. People have got to re-learn that it is they who are responsible for their well-being. That's just common sense. The rider should decide if they are fit to ride (all objective parameters, such as height, being acceptable) and they should bear responsibility for their actions. The park could suggest (if asked) if the rider is fit enough, but that's all. The onus is on the rider.
Now to address the lawsuit issue. If the park follows protocol then they should never be at fault. The recent accident seems to be partially to blame on operator error, so I could see legal action in that case. However, if the ride and it's crew perform correctly, then only rider negligence is to blame.
*** Edited 5/11/2004 3:07:26 PM UTC by Rollerhammer***
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 8:13 AM
Why be reactionary like that? As best we can tell, the victim at SFNE didn't die because of his disability.
I agree with the existing policy. If you can get yourself on the ride and the restraints hold you properly, you can ride.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 9:36 AM
Theme parks already have the power to tell people that due to medical/phyical condidtions that they cannot ride. I'll agree with Jeff, the exisiting policys are just fine as they comply with ADA laws.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 9:50 AM
Correct. The existing policies allow operators to block people from getting on a ride if they feel that it is necessary for their well being. It makes you have to trust that the other person is going to tell you about it though. As the accident report from SFNE points out, the person failed to tell the operators about his disability, so part of the blame did go on him.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 10:27 AM
Reporting a disability to the ride ops, is a State of Massachusetts law and not necessarily the case throughout the U.S.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 12:50 PM
And what is the penalty for not reporting one is disabled???
So if i can crawl to a ride and hold onto a restraint then all is fine, and if i happen to be unable to do so sometime during the ride and end up getting hurt will it be the riders fault and he wont be able to sue the park??? This all gets down too government by passing laws like the ADA want to impose on a private business conditions that make it very hard to run a company without being run over by trial lawyers when you try to protect your customers from themselves. While this may not be a perfect example there have been other accidents like one on The Giant Drop/SFGAM several yrs ago when a person without a disability fell off the ride when the ride worked perfectly with no restraint malfunction or not being applied properly. A believe the ADA laws are perfect to make sure all have access to public/governemnt buildings but open up private companies to un-needed liability/lawsuits. Could you imagine all the bad press etc SF would get if they told the person who died that he couldnt ride due to his disability??? The pc police across the country would go nuts saying what a travesty is was that someone was denied a ride on a theme park ride.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 1:10 PM
I believe in being proactive and preventing another death from occuring. If it means a law that says if you need the assitance of a wheel chair or motorized scooter then you shouldn't ride. Albeit in better language. The only time I can think of someone being able to ride a coaster and medically fit to ride a coaster and need the assitance of a wheel chair or motorized scooter is in the case of limb amputation. *** Edited 5/11/2004 5:14:20 PM UTC by coasterguts***
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 1:15 PM
As Jeff said, there is no evidence that the rider's disability was a major cause of the accident. I would rank the causes as 1) Operator error - didn't check that rider was properly restrained. 2) Design problem - Restraint design has a history of problems with people of large girth. 3) Rider disabilty - couldn't hold on when he starte to come out due to 1 & 2.
Note: Some have said that it is the rider's responsibility to make certain that he is properly restrained. I disagree with this. First because it is the operator's responsibility. Second, because the average member of the GP doesn't know what constitutes proper restraint on a coaster. If you went door to door in you neighborhood, how many people could tell you how many clicks you need on a PTC lap bar?
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 2:48 PM
I agree that the disability does not appear to be a cause if this past accident, but there are others where mentally challenged people freaked out and jumped off rides. I don't know what the solution is.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 3:02 PM
One thing to point out:
It should never be part of the safety restraints for a coaster that the rider must be able to hold on. What is for whatever reason the rider passes out?
In my opinion the fault here was not at all due to the rider's disability.
Most other restraint systems have a limiting factor that determines the first lockable position (first click is at the right spot, or 3 click rule, and so on). Hydraulic bars do not, so the limiting factor is the seat belt. When one row has seatbelts 11" longer than the next, there is a problem. Part of the fault here is with the park in my opinion if they modified the restraints with larger belts creating a "big boy" seat that wasn't properly designed. If these trains came out of the factory with belts this long (which I doubt), then Intamin would be at fault.
The ride operators also share some blame since they did not make sure that the bar was secure against his thighs like they are supposed to. This design does leave too much room for human error though, so the last part of the blame goes to Intamin for designing seats and restraints that have a long history of problems with large riders. They really need to redesign the seats and bars to be a more fool proof system.
The ADA not being applicable to amusement rides won't help here. As long as a rider can make it to the seat, get in, and is able to use all restraint devices as intended they should be able to ride and be confident that they will be safe on the ride, just like everyone else.
My two cents.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 3:31 PM
Jim Fisher said:
Note: Some have said that it is the rider's responsibility to make certain that he is properly restrained. I disagree with this.
Jim....It may not be my *responsibility* to check my restraints, but I always ALWAYS do it anyway....
Why? Because while *I* am out on the course with TONS of steel and considerable height/speed, the op is SAFE and sound in the station...
And I *do* believe that the disability was a CONTRIBUTING factor to the accident...while the "proximate cause" of the accident was likely a combination of the seat belt being ridiculously long and the lap bar being RESTED on the rider's *stomach* instead of his lap, a rider IN GOOD HEALTH very likely would have been capable of: a) using their legs to maintain proper body position within the seat, or b) YANKING either the lapbar or seatbelt to a more *secure* position...
I could be wrong, and certainly don't intend to come off as being inconsiderate of the plight of the disabled...
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 3:31 PM
Most other restraint systems have a limiting factor that determines the first lockable position (first click is at the right spot, or 3 click rule, and so on).
Like what? IIRC B&M hypers (and possibly PTC buzzbars) are the only ones that limit the maximum hieght of the restraint. All others can be dispatched as long as the restraints have been locked; even if not in a proper position.
Edit: ^ I agree with you 100%. *** Edited 5/11/2004 7:33:35 PM UTC by rOLLocOASt***
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 3:49 PM
Other restraint devices like that are B&M Stand Up restraints that don't start clicking until they are most of the way down (even before the seat belts). GCI Millenium Flyer trains also work the same way. Other B&Ms have the seat belt that won't allow a bar to be considered "locked" until it is closed. Many flat rides have a sensor that lights up when a restraint is down far enough, which enables the secondary lock to close (KMG Afterburners, Huss Frisbees, anything that needs a quick visual indicator that the bar is in fact down and all locks have closed). Intamin Hydraulic bars have none of that, nor an easily measurable method of declaring the bar closed (a light goes on or off, 4 audible clicks, a belt that connects to the bar, a computer sensor that will not allow a train to be dispatched unless it detects the bar in a safe position). That is a flaw, and has led to far too many people falling out.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 7:50 PM
As far as I know, all newer B&Ms have sensors that tell the system if all of the ride's lap bars are far enough down or not. Some do it by row, others by actual seat.
Intamins have none of this.
And while you can't blame a rider for falling out, if you have a disability of some sort you have to be careful about what people are riding. Yes, the ride restraint system should be able to keep people in place if they were to pass out -- but if a mentally handicapped person panics because they do not understand what is happening with a ride and they *try* to escape, that is another issue all together. I am not claiming that this would have changed anything with the Superman accident, but it is something that must be considered in a restraint design.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 8:10 PM
Bob O said:
While this may not be a perfect example there have been other accidents like one on The Giant Drop/SFGAM several yrs ago when a person without a disability fell off the ride when the ride worked perfectly with no restraint malfunction or not being applied properly.
Did I miss the story? When did someone fall off the Giant Drop?
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 10:07 PM
The only B&M's I know of that read train metrics in the station are the hypers and the flyers.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004 10:15 PM
Chitown: He's confused..it was Drop Zone at PGA. Mentally challanged kid fell out and died....no mechanical problem was found.