Carowinds sued by disabled family for denying access to rides

Posted Thursday, December 7, 2017 10:45 AM | Contributed by Jeff

A lawsuit was filed Wednesday alleging Carowinds amusement park discriminated against a family by refusing to allow them to ride a number of rides because of a person’s disability. A Clover man, his son and his daughter all have lower leg amputations because of a medical condition. The lawsuit claims the family members were denied access to rides "not because of legitimate safety requirements" but because of "speculation, stereotypes, and generalizations" about their ability to safely ride them.

Read more from The Charlotte Observer.

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Saturday, December 9, 2017 3:32 PM

Of all the things to occasionally have to wait extra time for loading or unloading to me this would be one I would have no problem with. The more ways we come up with to keep people alive from illness or accidents that would normally kill them the larger the disabled population is going to get. Only seems right that over time we make an effort to include them whenever there is a safe way to do so. I'm not saying mandate every park must make every ride ADA accessible, just that there is a possibility that being known as a park or chain that is more disability friendly than others as far as rides are concerned may be a business advantage in the future.

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Sunday, December 10, 2017 12:54 PM

Having seen these special B&M harnesses in person, the thing that takes the most amount of time is putting on the harness before you get to the train. Depending on the physical limitations of the guest, it can take quite a bit of time to get that harness on in the first place. Granted, all of that can be done while trains are still cycling, so I'm not even sure that this constitutes a 5 minute delay for all other guests- if anything it's extra work for the park to have people trained and ready to deploy when a guest wants to use the harness.

With that said, I think this is just the beginning of a wave of increased rider accessibility that will become standard for new attractions over the next decade.

Last edited by Fun, Sunday, December 10, 2017 12:55 PM
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Thursday, December 14, 2017 12:47 PM

If putting the harness on is the issue it seems like the park could just have a few harnesses at the front gate to hand out to disabled people up front. Their family / friends can help them into the harness and then they could just wear it the rest of the day... it's not like they're uncomfortable as some people like construction workers do their entire jobs in them.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017 8:59 PM

People have to pee.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017 9:31 PM

Then it could be taken off and put back on...not like it would be happening on the platform.

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Monday, December 18, 2017 7:49 AM

It's not the same harness on each ride.

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Friday, December 22, 2017 4:40 PM

D_vo said:

It's not a terrible idea really, but as was pointed out, every feature that you add on costs money, and at the end of the day, coasters are designed for 98% (this is an estimation, not a fact) of the population. It's unfortunate, but we have to be able to accept it. I'm 6'6", and I've encountered numerous rides that I'm too tall to ride based on maximum height restrictions. I recently learned that I'll never be able to ride Superman at SFNE because of this exact reason. I'm not happy about it, but I'm sure there's a reason for it, so I'm accepting that I'll likely never experience that ride.

The one thing I could say is that maybe coasters could start having 1 row be an "ADA" row, similar to the "big boy" seats on B&M's nowadays, where the seats in that row are compatible with a special harness of some sort to better secure an amputee. However, even with that, where do you draw the line? Securing someone with only one leg is a lot different than securing a person with no limbs at all. It gets to be very difficult, and unfortunately I don't know if there's a good solution.

I think that its due to the headchoppers. Head trauma is a serious matter, and you don't want to drink banging into the overhead track at 70 MPH.

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