California shuts down rides with Intamin T-bar restraints
Posted Wednesday, June 2, 2004 10:33 AM | Contributed by supermandl
CalOSHA has asked two parks to shut down their rides and modify the restraint system that is being blamed in several deaths. Xcelerator at Knott's Berry Farm and Superman at Six Flags Magic Mountain are closed.
With Knott's stapeling people as they do I think Xcelerator would be fine as is. Superman really doesn't do anything to merit a restraint change. It really is sad that the entire world has to change for a bunch of people who didn't use their better judgement when boarding rides. What's next? OTSR on kiddie coasters? Now that I think about it, it's even sadder that kiddies can behave on kiddie roller coasters better than adults can on adult roller coasters. Would it be possible for Intamin to change to a Giovanola style restraint with the bars on the sides of the restraint instead of having one in the middle and one on each side? Seems simple enough, and it definately looks better than the torture chair that is being retrofitted on all the Superman coasters. *** This post was edited by Rampage 6/2/2004 11:07:52 AM ***
If Xcelerator's restraints are modified, would that carry over to Dragster as well? I haven't ridden Xcelerator so I don't know if there is any difference between their respective restraints, but I'm wondering if Cedar Fair's insurance folks would insist on uniformity for the restraints on those rides (in that if one is modified, then the other must be modified too).*** This post was edited by DirtyApe 6/2/2004 11:42:29 AM ***
i can see this as the end of intamin. if they are having to change the seats of 5 coasters, and having to add supports to all of the impulse(at their own expence). not to mention the fact that the coaster market is slowing over 3 years ago, this is not good for intamin.
Perilous Plunge should have the 4-point harnesses removed and the "New Improved" restraints added as well to keep everything uniform. Perhaps air-bag-suits should be issued to all guests upon park entry.
I don't see this as a bad thing. It just is another safety precaution to keep all of us safer. Sure we may have to wait a little longer in line due to the new seat belts and stuff, but safety is always #1. I mean ride makers and park owners are not doing this to make us mad. There doin this so that we can be safer. I think we owe them some credit.
The new restraints on all the Supermans on the East coast are completely retarded, painful, and totally over-kill... I sincerely hope that they aren't going to go that route for these coasters as well... because a lot of people have been complaining that these restraints for the Superman hypers are now totally ruining the whole experience & in fact... are about on par as painful as a hang-N-bang Vekoma SLC (except instead of the head hurting, it's the shins & legs).
As with the comment avout intamin.... I don't think there goin under I just think they should take some more time designing there coasters and rides. I believe intamin is the company with the most ride modifacations on this earth. Just look at there drop rides all getting safety belts now. I just dont beleive that someone should have to die for them to say "hey maybe we should put a seatbelt in"
Hey man, look around. We are a reactionary people. Train crossings don't get gates until someone is hit. Intersections don't get stop lights until someone dies. Lots of people don't give up smoking (despite the multitudes of warnings) until a loved one dies from it.
That is the way we do things, particularly in America, and I don't see it changing anytime soon.
1) OSHA has nothing to do with this. OSHA is a federal agency that regulates worker safety. It is not a California state agency. It has nothing to do with the design of restraints on rollercoasters or accidents that happen to park patrons. It becomes involved only when park workers are injured.
2) While not all Intamin T-bar safety restraints are the same, their overall safety record has been poor. There has been roughly 1 fatality associated with these restraints for every 20 ride-years of operation. That's 100 times as high as the industry average. If that were the average for amusement rides in the US, we would have 250 people killed every year on fixed amusment rides in the US. (The current average is about 2.5 deaths per year in the US)
3) The general public is not qualified to determine if they are properly secured on a ride. That has to be the primary responsibility of the ride operators and to some extent the ride designers.
4) There are known problems with the arrangement of the Intamin T-bar restraints that make it easier for the rider to not be secured properly than with most other restraints.
5) I agree that the modified restraints on the SROS's are not the ideal design. However, I think that they are better than the alternate of having all of these rides shutdown for the entire season. Hopefully for next year we will have improved restraints.
For the record, Xcelerator's restraints are notthe same as the others. Those seats and bars, like Dragster's, are the deeper seats with the bent bars. Having just been on Dragster and Millennium Force (with the older style) yesterday, they are not even in the same ballpark in terms of how well they secure you. You can feel how the newer version places your butt lower, knees higher, and the bar makes contact down on your thighs close to your torso.
This is a typical over-reaction and has much less to do with safety than with lawsuits. If another person would get seriously hurt or killed on a ride with the same non-modified restraint(even if caused by rider error) the ambulance chasing lawyers would go after the parks/manufacturers big time knowing it is easy to sway a jury with sad sob stories(escpecially with the anti business propaganda that is spewed by the medai).
It also doesnt help that any time any one gets hurt that the media runs to the big-mouth fackler as if she is a engineer who designs rides and is a expert on restraint systems!!!
Actually, it does. California's OSHA (called DOSH, but the equivalent of occupational safety entities in other states) has jurisdiction over certain aspects of fixed and portable amusement rides and has since 2000. I believe it's the only state OSHA to have such jurisdiction.