Buckle Up?

kingdakacor's avatar

With seat belts now installed on/or going to be installed on intimidator (Carowinds), diamondback(KI) and behemoth (CW) how big an issue is this? Has anyone ridden one of these coasters and noticed the ride experience is different?

I am guessing cedar fair is doing this in response to the Texas giant accident last year. Question is this. Do you think we will see more seal belt additions to other hypers??

Sky's the limit.

Got back from a trip at KI and I can happily report that the belt had no negative effect on my ride. It never tightened during my ride and had a lot of slack for my size (6ft, 190lb). Biggest impact I saw is dispatch times, just something else for the ride ops to check.

I wrote in another thread about Diamondback's new seatbelts, and in short, I didn't mind it and didn't see a big difference in loading time or delays in dispatching the train. They weren't uncomfortable or tight, either.

I think a lot of it has to do with operations. At KI they make sure you know about the seatbelts in advance of loading time, and the day I rode they performed the check of both belt and bar simultaneously and had it down pretty tight. I've read reports that at Canada's Wonderland they walk the train first to check belts, then lower the bars and re-walk to check those. (ala the nightmare that is Gwazi) And that the trains sit 3 stacked at all times, putting a real dent in what was formerly decent capacity and thru-put. And causing anger amongst people like us that notice these things.

I guess it's naive to think that operation procedures would be standardized throughout the chain. I haven't heard any reports about how it's going for Carowinds.

As far as other rides go, I'm not sure. I think a bigger response to the incident on NTG was the addition of belts to Outlaw Run, as the trains and ride experience are similar. But I can see how any high, forceful ride like theyre building today would have them. When dealing with the challenge of over sized guests, we've seen where a lap bar might be telling a lie. It might be locked and in a proper position when in all actuality the guest is not. The addition of a belt is one more step toward assurance that no one is going to be ejected even if the guest's size is causing a weight imbalance that isn't easily detectable to a ride op on the platform.

And if seatbelts on all hypers is the new thing, then so be it. The single most feared event amongst park operators is an accident, and if it was me I'd probably go ahead and use them. Anything to (hopefully) keep from having to go through what SFOT is dealing with, right?

LostKause's avatar

RCMAC said:

I guess it's naive to think that operation procedures would be standardized throughout the chain.

I suppose it's because different States and even different countries have different laws and regulations. Perhaps the different parks have different insurance companies?

rollergator's avatar

^The evidence thus far *seems* to suggest that CF has a nationwide carrier.

Happy that SF hasn't installed belts on their B&M hypers...

I rode Diamondstack on Friday. The belts are very clumsily installed. The way the belt is angled, the most obvious belt path is across the rider's knees. As a result, the belt twists about 60 degrees as it comes out of the retractor. At the other end, the push-button buckle extends out so that it sits on your lap right about where the corner of the lap bar meets the lap. The end of the belt has a useless Disney-style checker loop on it, which combines with the buckle to put even more rigid bulk between your lap and the lap bar.

Operators check the belts by tugging the exposed end of the belt on the outboard side of the train, which in my case proved nothing as the attendant pulled against the retractor instead of against the buckle. Even though the belts are on retractors, the buckles are not, so attendants are fastening the belts on empty seats.

Out on the ride, the belts have minimal effect except that the twist in the belt on the outboard side results in some minor pinching, and you definitely notice the buckle smashed in between the thigh and lap bar. Because of the buckle position, many riders are noticing that the buckle is popping open early in the ride. This is not an intentional action, as the buckle is mostly inaccessible once the lap bar is down, instead it is the result of a push button buckle being crammed against a rigid lap bar.

The real disaster is in the station, though. When I rode, I clocked the ride through four cycles and got an average dispatch interval of 115 seconds (1:55). By comparison, a more typical interval for Diamondback is between 80 and 90 seconds.

In my opinion, at the very least, the retractors should be mounted on the inboard side, set at the correct angle, and the buckles should be rigidly mounted on the outboard side so that the belts can be checked visually, and no rigid hardware would sit under the bar. Or, they should have just gone with a safety belt attached to the lap bar, as on Banshee or Vortex. The setup they have now just looks like it was not well considered.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

I'm not totally convinced this has anything to do with the New Texas Giant incident. The Ride of Steel incident happened in 1999, a decade before Diamondback opened, and Perilous Plunge happened in 2001. Despite both of these incidents, Diamondback opened without seat belts. If it were a safety issue (or even recommended by B&M), then the seat belts would have been installed in a manner that they couldn't accidentally pop open mid ride, as Dave mentioned. I would have to think that if B&M designed the seat belt install, that it would have a minimal impact on dispatch times, and that does not seem to be the case right now.

I really see this as an effort to standardize operations of the roller coasters. All the other roller coasters have seat belts*, therefore they want Diamondback to have seat belts. I see this as being like the standardized coaster safety announcement the operators say where you are supposed to keep your back and shoulders against the seat back at all times. For anyone of above average height, this is physically impossible to do on the old Arrow hypers like Magnum and Gemini, yet they use the same announcement on that ride anyway.

*The Arrow suspended don't have any yet.

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